With the Aug. 9 issue, subscribers to The Witness, the Catholic Archdiocesan newspaper, were informed publication would cease with the Oct. 4 issue. This is yet one more sad chapter in the slowly shrinking print media, especially news magazines and newspapers.
Certainly, digital media has opened up a wide world of access to information literally at our fingertips, but this is more than merely shifting from one source of information to another. How does this impact our critical thinking skills, depth of analysis and understanding of the issues of the day and just our general human formation?
It is likely that I, as a consumer of the internet, will look for information on subjects that are of direct interest to me and will ignore other topics. With a newspaper in hand, I am presented with a wide range of topics, some of which I’ve never heard of. If I actually read them, I will end up being more informed, and better informed, than if I simply follow those topics which are only of narrow interest to me.
On the internet, I am likely to look for views that reinforce my own world view. It is unlikely I will pursue opinions that are contrary to mine. The newspaper, on the other hand, will offer a variety of editorials, some of which offer opinions not to my liking. But if I take the plunge and read the editorial, I might actually get a new idea; I might actually stretch my world-view and become a better-informed citizen!
We should not easily dismiss the influence of print media.