5 Things I Learned from Reading the Newspaper

Back in June, I decided to try a little experiment in how I receive and read the news. My goal was to read news exclusively through a newspaper every day for two weeks. That meant no web news, no NPR in the car, and no TV (including TMZ, which is normally a rich source of reflection for me).

There is a lot of discussion about the slow extinction of the the newspaper and standards of journalism, but that wasn’t really my interest. I didn’t grow up reading newspapers, and I wanted to know how the experience of reading a paper at a fixed time every day compared to checking an RSS feed reader for blogs several times throughout the day. Here’s what I found:

1. Newspapers Are Expensive

On the first day of my experiment, I managed to demonstrate how naive I was about the world of newspapers. I was shocked to see to see that the Dallas Morning News weekday edition is $1.00 and the New York Times is $2.00. That’s more than a Venti coffee!

Interestingly, that expense played into how I interacted with the news. I found that the cost motivated me to really explore the paper and finish articles in contrast to web news which I often stop reading after the first paragraph.

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Dostoevsky’s 1984 Saved Him from Our Brave New World

1984 vs. Brave New World

In the introduction to Amusing Ourselves to Death, Neil Postman contrasts the worries about future technology by Aldous Huxley in Brave New World (1932) and George Orwell in Nineteen Eighty-Four (1949). Though much has been made about the totalitarian government depicted in Nineteen Eighty-Four, Postman highlights how Orwell and Huxley’s contrasting worries play out in information and importance. While Orwell worried that good information would be hidden by a scary government, Huxley worried good information would be hidden in a pile of insignificance.

Postman’s words were recently amazingly illustrated by Stuart McMillen. Here is one of the panels

Orwell-Information

Huxley Informatino

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BibleTech:2009 – Technology is Not Neutral: How Bible Technology Shapes Our Faith

The fine folks at Logos have posted the audio and slides of the BibleTech:2009 conference talks. Here is my presentation slides synced with the audio using slideshare.net. (note: the title is a nod to Shane Hipps’ book Flickering Pixels: How Technology Shapes Your Faith)

Technology is Not Neutral: How Bible Technology Shapes Our Faith

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Read the Bible: Greek and Hebrew Reading Experiment

Reader's Greek and HebrewFor my BibleTech:2009 presentation (“Technology Is Not Neutral: How Bible Technology Shapes Our Faith“), I created an example site to demonstrate what I like to call “technological minimalism” in Bible software. In my seminary Greek and Hebrew classes, I often relied too heavily on my Bible software during translations and my ability to actually read the text suffered. What I needed was some way to turn off all the cool features and only see the help that I really needed. In my case, I was supposed to have memorized all the Greek works which were used 50 times or more, so I only needed definitions for the more rare words. Unfortunately, there is no way to limit this that I know of in Logos.

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