DRAFT: This module has unpublished changes.

Print or Digital?


Technology is astonishing. It affects our lives in so many ways; so many ways, in fact, that I don’t even need to list any examples because you’ve undoubtedly already thought of a dozen. It’s become an integral characteristic of the modern world, so much so that we take it for granted on a daily basis. Stripping away the conveniences it provides us would surely turn our lives upside-down. I know for a fact that should the Wi-Fi in my residence hall ever stop working, there would be a couple hundred sleep-deprived college students rioting. Anyone could easily make the argument that we rely on technology far too much, and that this will eventually lead to humanity’s downfall when the machines we depend on rise up and imprison us in a false reality, using our unconscious bodies as their energy source for centuries until Keanu Reeves shows up to end their tyranny.


That being said, it would be very difficult to find a person today that wouldn’t agree technology has been momentously beneficial to nearly every aspect of our lives. It has allowed us to achieve amazing things as a people. But if we become too dependent on it, we may find ourselves bending backwards at a ninety-degree angle to dodge bullets in slow motion. It’s a very fine line that we walk: attempting to use technology to its fullest potential without becoming overly dependent. This brings me to the topic question: should students be reading the New York Times in print or in digital format?


After reflecting on the question and changing my mind a few times, I have come to the conclusion that the New York Times should preferentially be read in the printed format. In the prompt, a few issues that I could talk about were suggested, such as serendipity and annotation among others. To me, these seemed too simple and obvious. There are other, less-discussed reasons for reading in print that can be just as important: reading on paper gives us some time away from all the technology in our life, and it allows us to relax.


Firstly, reading news in print gives us time away from technology. Since our culture today, especially our youth, is so engrossed in technology, it is typical that many people simply read news digitally out of convenience. However, every once in a while, we need a break from our laptops and touchscreens, just to help prevent too much monotony. Sometimes this is difficult to do, particularly when so many of our normal activities and habits are only capable through the use of such devices. But reading news has never required these devices in the past nor does it now. Reading in print allows us time to step away from the technology that often forcibly dominates our lives.


Secondly, I personally find sitting down, kicking my feet up, opening the paper, and reading for a while to be very relaxing, much more relaxing than hunching over a smartphone, trying to read a tiny screen. Attempting to read the New York Times on my laptop is even worse; I already spend ninety percent of my time staring at a computer screen, and I really don’t want to do it any more than necessary. Of course, not everyone will feel this way. For many people, spending another couple hours a week on a computer is no big deal. However, by not giving the printed format a try, I feel that many are missing out on the relaxing properties that reading offers.


Throughout our lives, as we strive to be more conscious of the world around us, we can make use of many tools. Obviously, technology in general is among the more useful. Despite its usefulness, though, we cannot rely solely on it for our cultural awareness needs. There are several other mediums that work to the same extent. However, the New York Times is one instance where we can see both sides of the coin. Ultimately, reading in print is preferential. While both positions have some advantages, the benefits of the printed format outweigh those of the digital, although, I must add, in our increasingly entropic world, reading the New York Times in either format is, without a doubt, preferable to not reading it at all. Because when the mechanical overlords rise to power, where better to read about it than the New York Times?

DRAFT: This module has unpublished changes.