As the son of journalists, I have a special appreciation and relationship with newspapers. My first real job was as a delivery boy: During Christmas break of freshman year, I woke up at 2 a.m. and from the front seat of a beat-up P.T. Cruiser, spent the nights throwing papers onto people’s porches. By morning, my hands were stained black with ink. My second real job, during the summer before sophomore year, was spent working in the printing press, inserting ad circulars and sorting thousands of newspapers destined for coffee tables and newsstands.
Because of my hands-on experience with newspapers, it was with a heavy heart that I read about Jeromy Koffler’s decision to go paperless next year. I think that this is a terrible move.
Here’s why: We all benefit from the existence of a school paper and the sense of community it fosters. As humans we crave touch and there is a unique, satisfying feeling associated with being able to hold a newspaper. It is real. It exists. It means something.
A newspaper is a gathering point. Students and staff crowd around a paper to see the pictures, read the words and to be a part of something bigger as they experience and discuss the information together.
The newspaper is a conversation starter, through a medium that forces us to talk face-to-face.
A paper is an opportunity to read something without staring at a screen. You can experience it without an internet connection. A newspaper IS ACCESSIBLE TO EVERYONE — Students abroad, parents, alumni, staff, administration, professors and the local Portland community are connected to campus through the physical existence of The Beacon.
A newspaper is a citizen of its community. It is a representative of our collective thoughts and opinions. It’s like a friend we all know, and every Thursday we look forward to their visit. With the plan to go paperless next year, we are losing a friend and a citizen of UP. We are losing our community. We are losing the nostalgia and anticipation of sitting down on Thursday to read the paper. Future students will not know the joy of being able to hold their school newspaper, and appreciate the community that comes with it.
Any plan to abolish physical production of the newspaper is a loss for you, for us and for the community of the University of Portland. I urge you to take ownership. Students, staff, alumni: This is your paper. This is OUR paper. It is a proud tradition that shows we care about our community. It shows that we believe everyone has the right to access the paper and to enjoy its presence. Tell Koffler that you do not agree with his decision to abolish paper printing by emailing him at email@example.com with the subject line “Paper Please.”
Perhaps he could pursue alternatives like printing fewer copies or releasing the paper once every two weeks. Either way, “The student voice of the University of Portland” needs your help. Gabriel Wihtol is a junior nursing major and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.