1. Calm and Focus
"It's too distracting
online...there's always some button that wants you to click cat porn,"
Eggers said. "You try to read something, and it's flashing, it's
telling you to go somewhere else."
2. Scope and Depth
Garber put it, people "want journalism that has taken a little time to
marinate." Eggers suggested that print could survive by going in-depth
and "leave the Internet to do the more quick-thinking and
quick-reacting things." (Of course, this sounds less like a contrast
between mediums, and more like the contrast between blog and long-form
writing that Andrew Sullivan described masterfully in 2008.)
room there for the less experienced journalists, but mostly I want to
hear from the people that know how to get at the facts, that know where
the bodies are buried," Eggers said.
4. Beauty, Surprise & Expansiveness
like looking at screens. "I think that it's a time to make the paper
form more robust and surprising and expansive," he said.
are all principles that could be applied to the web -- and they are, in
fact, the exact principles that are motivating the next generation of
online publications in San Francisco.
Two examples that spring to mind are Pictory, an online magazine of user-submitted photos, and The Bold Italic, an experiment in first-person storytelling about local activities being developed by the Gannett newspaper chain.
sites rely on gorgeous design and a calm, focused viewing experience. The photographs or stories on each site fill the whole screen, and
there aren't distracting advertisements or flashing banners or many
pop-up windows. The Bold Italic
publishes only stories that are several thousand words long, and they
call their contributors "Bold Locals," highlighting their local
Neither of these are news sites, of course, but
they are examples of how the reading experience that Eggers values in
print is being recreated online -- just as the buzz and openness of a
that she highlighed Eggers' remarks in part because debates about the
future of journalism often get caught up in arguments about print
versus web, when what they're really arguing about is what kind of
experience people want.
And it turns out there are a lot of ways to re-mix the more traditional print and web experiences, from the Twitter-sourced 48 Hour Magazine, to the launch, last fall, of a German newspaper that personalizes news content, web-style, and then publishes it as a print newspaper and delivers it to subscribers' doors.
that you can't love print for itself -- the ungainly pages of a big
newspaper, the smear of ink -- but it's unfair to divide print and web
into separate categories, as Eggers does, and ignore all the
interesting ways the mediums are influencing each other.
Photo | David Shankbone