Apr 29, 2010, 12:18PM

Dave Eggers likes his newspapers a little too much

Won't somebody please think of the print media?

I support Dave Eggers’ crusade to save print media. But his message during a recent ASNE conference is off the mark, punctuated by its condescending disregard for the potential of Web journalism.

It’s clearly mistaken to attach curatorial authority—i.e. that of seasoned “professionals”—to the print medium itself. This authority he’s looking for is something every thinking person in the 21st century needs: a digestible synthesis of information and triage of the day’s events into something the mind can handle. But the curatorial intelligence this requires is not at all exclusive to newspapers. It might be more common, and reasonable, to put faith in a particular newspaper today, but there is nothing preventing journalism’s establishment of authority on the Internet. Besides, books and newspapers are full of shitty, unfounded opinions, too.  

Some of Eggers’ ideas smack of nostalgia and romanticism. He’s most skeptical, simplistic, and exaggerated here: “I feel like as a society, we try to put everything on that same goddamn screen, and pretty soon we’re going to be eating on the screen or, like, making love through the screen.” Is he claiming that saving print will help us live better and attain proper socialization and culture? Too heavy-handed for this reader.

Eggers’ best point about newspapers is that they don’t distract; they lessen the ADD of the Internet. This is true. Eggers ought to keep churning out his print products, but I won’t buy that their intelligent curation is impossible on the Internet. 

  • I love the work Dave Eggers does, so detailed and reverent of typography. And frankly, despite his bluster, I think he knows he's a dinosaur and wouldn't have it any other way.

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