I have a framed copy of a March 1999 Sunday comic strip hanging on my office wall.
It is a “Hi and Lois,” which was created by prolific cartoonist Mort Walker, who also created “Beetle Bailey.”
In the first panel, son Chip is reading a computer magazine and engaging in teen whining. “These new computers are very fast, so I’m sure we’ll never get one.”
In the second frame, he continues in that vein, “No sir! We like our computers slow around here. Old and slow, that’s the way to go.”
In the third and fourth frames, Hi begins his counter, “Try to imagine for a moment a fully integrated source for all your informational needs … with easy-to-use search and browse capabilities!”
In the fourth and fifth frames, Hi holds forth, “Color graphics, entertainment, shopping, news, sports, you name it!”
They use a lot of exclamation points in comic strips, so wide-eyed Chip exclaims, “Wow!”
In the last two frames, Hi concludes, “And best of all … It’s here now!”
As Hi walks back into the room with this wondrous device in his hands, the teen, jaw dropped, exclaims, “The newspaper?”
Though I carry a laptop, a BlackBerry, an iPhone and an iPod just about everywhere I go, as well as listen to radio news and watch cable and network news, I still find the morning newspaper to be the fastest browser around. I can flip pages and scan headlines in selected categories — international news, local news, sports, business and so on — far more quickly than I can click a mouse. And I can find things I did not know to look for.
But the Review-Journal is and will be more than just the printed paper that lands on your doorstep in the morning. We intend to be your source for news, especially local news, whenever, wherever and however you want it.
In fact, we are trumpeting this with a modest change to the flag of the newspaper on the front page. Where it once proclaimed “Nevada’s Largest Newspaper,” we now say, “Breaking news 24/7 @ reviewjournal.com.”
We have for some time included on our Web site links to the top Associated Press stories, which change throughout the day as events warrant. You might link to the main presidential campaign story in the morning and go back to it almost hourly to find something new. Now we have stepped up our efforts in providing breaking news from Las Vegas and Nevada, posting news, as it happens, on the site.
For those who are not shackled to their desktop or laptop computers all day long but wish to keep up with events, we have two free services for portable e-mail devices and cell phones. You can sign up for the eRJ news flashes and various e-mailed news alerts on our Web site. For text messages, go to the Web site and click on 702-411. Scroll down to “text alerts” to choose breaking news, stock market news, sports or other information.
With eRJ you can select alerts from national and world, Nevada, sports, business or entertainment news categories. Or you can customize it with key words such as your company’s name, your favorite sports team, your favorite news topic or your own name and get alerts from both the Review-Journal and The Associated Press when those appear.
Don’t forget the eEdition, an electronic replica of the paper you can access from any computer. There is a modest subscription charge. I use it frequently to search a week or so of the paper for key words to make sure we’ve not missed some particular story. But if you are in the market for new tires and don’t want to rifle the recycle bin for that sale ad you saw last week, it is handy for that, too. If it’s in the paper, it is in eEdition.
We’ve also increased the number of blogs on everything from entertainment to sports to politics to literature.
In addition, we will be stepping up our online use of photo slideshows, video and audio — things the print edition just can’t handle. Our objective is make the Review-Journal the only place you have to go to find out all you really need to know about our community.
But the printed paper is still the fastest.
Thomas Mitchell is editor of the Review-Journal and writes about the role of the press and access to public information. He may be contacted at 383-0261 or via e-mail at email@example.com.