Signs of the Times
Updated: Dec 9, 2020
Another paper? Some might scoff at this venture as a fool’s errand.“ Does print even still matter?” I often hear this line, uttered in a manner of mockery rather than a question. They say the challenge for the print media — the physical representation of traditional journalism — is to become relevant in a world where everyday people are their own reporters and editors. They are not just audience and consumers of news; they have become contributors of content.
But it is not completely out of homesickness that I would argue that print still matters. It does, according to David Thorburn, co-editor of “Rethinking Media Change: The Aesthetics of Transition,” who is convinced that “journalists still seem to come to their profession with a sense of mission and a love for the work.”
The new media landscape challenges the traditional journalism to redefine itself, to take advantage of the stream of information, carefully analyze and make sense of news content. That’s how you merge the old and the new. This is what we will try to do at the Pacific Island Times, a monthly news magazine — in newsprint that calls for an urgency to be read. We can also be read online at www.pacificislandtimes.com.
We have teamed up with the Pacific Note, a team of Palau-based journalists, with whom we share a common mission: To be the most accurate, comprehensive, analytical and independent source of news on politics, government affairs, economy and business, arts and culture in Guam, Palau, CNMI and rest of the Pacific region; and to create a product that reflects the diversity of the backgrounds, goals and interests of the communities in our region.
There is a plainly political dimension to the role of the media, which operates under protection of the First Amendment. An independent press is crucial to a free society, which must read what it needs to know and not just what it wants to know.
I once heard a colleague quip,“Opening a publication is a hobby on Guam and we have a small island with a small population.” But for knowledge-seekers and First Amendment advocates, there can never be enough sources of information. Ask Dr. Robert Underwood, University of Guam president, who underscored the value of free press in his Oct. 1, 2016 column in PDN.“
A free press meant free access to ideas which are the basis for having informed opinions,” Dr. Underwood said, paraphrasing Thomas Jefferson, who “would rather have a society without government than a society without newspapers.”
But it’s not just a matter of having an accessible press, Dr. Underwood wrote, but more so, “it is the ability to understand the information that is provided in that press.”