Steve's Newsroom Blog: Technology challenges old time journalist

By Steve Phillips - bio | email

Let me start by saying I'm definitely not a high-tech guy.

Quite the opposite in fact.  Sometimes I get the feeling I was born in the wrong century. I'm convinced I would have been more comfortable residing in a log cabin and living off the land.  I love the outdoors.

I have somehow managed to adapt to these ever-changing technologically-advancing times. However, not to the extent that many of you have, I'm sure.  I don't own a Blackberry.  No personal cell phone. No GPS in my SUV. No iPod. (although I do have a hand-me-down MP3 player from my thoroughly advanced high-tech college senior daughter.)

But this admittedly low-tech 50-year-old will confess one advancement I truly appreciate and utilize on a daily basis.

The Internet.

I use the Internet every day, both at work and at home. I find it an invaluable connection for work and fun.

How in the world did this reporter ever survive before the Internet came along?  And I can assure you I was reporting the news long before its arrival.  I vividly recall the old UPI machines with the canary yellow paper. The bulky teletype machines clacked so loudly you had to try and sound proof them in a box.  Real ink ribbons also got your hands messy if you weren't careful.

Research back then, and for many, many years, meant taking full advantage of another earlier technology. Think Alexander Graham Bell.  That's right, the telephone.

Just like the reporters in the old movies, my research hours were spent calling sources and experts and politicians and news makers.  No cell phones either.  Old time rotary dial phones in the office and collect calls made back to the station from a "pay phone booth" when reporting from the field.

It was also back in the day when you could talk to an actual human when making your round calls or research calls. None of this phone tree stuff that gives you an endless menu of options before connecting you to some "extension of no return."

Ah, the ease of the Internet.  I can track down statistics, peruse a politician's web site, find the phone number of a corporate spokesman, check the latest headlines, E-mail sources and have immediate contact with the world.

There's not a single day that goes by at work here at WLOX when I don't use the Internet in some fashion.  And generally it's multiple uses and functions.

Like most others, I've also found the Internet invaluable for shopping, social networking (Facebook) and entertainment.

Is there a bad side to the Internet? Certainly. Things like pornography and identify theft come to mind first. But that's a different topic for another blog.

Suffice it to say I can't imagine my life without getting "on line."

I guess that wouldn't exactly fit with my idyllic log cabin life, now would it?

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