The Griffin Editorial 10/06
To print, or not to print? There is no question.
Here at The Griffin, we value the charm of a good, old-fashioned print newspaper. If you’re reading this online, I hate to tell you, but you’re honestly missing out. There is a satisfaction in unfolding the pages: smelling the warm wood pulp as they’ve come, quite literally, fresh off the press. The pages crinkle as you thumb through article after carefully worded article to find something to read; you dog-ear the page and keep it with you all day, letting people know how incredibly well read you are. You just don’t get that from blog posts and infographics.
Sure, it’s easier to click a link and scroll your way through event coverage and professor profiles. But for many, the ritual of stopping by their nearest newsstand to start their day with non-LED interaction is what keeps them reading ritualistically — not a bad habit to have! When we scroll through Instagram or X, we see promoted posts of crazy news stories and headlines about celebrity gossip: we almost always stop, read the first sentence and proceed with our high-speed scrolling. Not only are we almost never in the right mindset to read a full piece as when we’re scrolling through memes, but we’re constantly getting over-saturated, reading over-sensationalized stories littered with trendy language and outrageous sponsorships. Even a local newspaper’s website will have pop ups and internet cookies that can distract you.
Picking up a physical newspaper means you're making a commitment. You’re promising to dedicate your time and focus to this piece of work; promising to revisit it later for that one article that caught your eye; promising to carry it with you proudly, evidently encouraging others to pick one up of their own. Soon, more and more people start their morning with the smell of hot aluminum and indigo ink seared to the page — more and more people with torsos hidden behind wide-open newspapers like something from a cartoon. At that point we might feel invited to ask them what they’re reading; then, kind of indirectly, we all start reading and connecting more and more.
When we got word that The Buffalo News — the organization that has printed countless copies of this very paper over the years — would no longer be printing locally, we were devastated. We had to say goodbye to years-old routines and partnerships and immediately pivot to a new way to print. Not once in this transitional period did we consider going fully digital, for the reasons listed above.
We thought this was a soapbox that we stood on alone until The Buffalo Newspaper Guild released a statement on Saturday, Sept. 30, expressing a similar devastation at the newspaper team’s decision to start printing their papers from Cleveland, Ohio. Overall, the Guild seemed displeased with Lee Enterprises, owners of The Buffalo News, noting in their statement, “Lee has invested little in the Western New York community and has spent more time extracting resources from The Buffalo News,” and commenting quite candidly that, “[They] believe The Buffalo News should be printed in Buffalo.” Their grief, however, was not just for the loss of novelty, but for the loss of jobs for its employees and for the alleged negligence of their parent company — added context that really twists the knife.
There are people who stay up all night waiting on our files, who man the dangerous machinery involved and deliver our papers at dawn because they believe in this process and they love to do it. There are writers who spend the week thinking of stories that’ll get their byline set in stone and parents excited to hang a cutout of an article on the fridge. The Griffin has been printing its weekly releases for all 90 years that we’ve had the honor to inform, enlighten and entertain this campus. When we see you reading The Griffin or carrying around a copy, we know our work is for a reason, and it’s impossible not to beam with pride over a real person reading your real work.
All of that joy comes from the tangibility of a real life newspaper. As journalists, The Griffin can’t help but fear that this field is losing its humanity as social media and A.I. take over the news, so we’re obviously grateful that you support student journalism, regardless of how you consume our work. But The Griffin would like readers to consider, next time they pick up the paper, all of the moving parts, the passionate people behind the print, the ones who dedicate their lives to the industry… then, try to tell us you like the online version better. I dare you.