The future isn’ here yet

Sam Hartle

?As you may have noticed last Monday, there was no new Washburn Review wreaking havoc across campus. Not a group to sit around and do nothing, eight staff members of the Review attended the Associated Collegiate Press/College Media Advisers national journalism conference in Kansas City.

?The conference marked my fourth such event in college, and while we’ll hopefully go to Los Angeles in the spring, I attended conferences geared more toward the future of media, trying to get a glimpse of what might lay ahead in the vast media landscape.

?An emerging trend among college newspapers is the addition of a supplemental arts and entertainment section. The Review joins that bandwagon this week with the debut issue of The ARGO.

?While these new publications are created and published under the pretense of making it more reader friendly, they still fall under the traditional media distribution of a newspaper. With print publications such as newspapers and magazines suffering from declining readership, they likely won’t represent the dominant news transmission medium of the future.

?At the same time, many of the newly heralded devices of today, such as iPods and third generation cell phones (which offer broadband access to streaming video) while promising, also don’t represent the future of media.

?There’s nothing like watching a full-featured Fox News Channel program on a TV screen that’s 2.5 inches across.

?There is one aspect of cell phones and iPods that is appealing, and that’s the ability of the user to access information from anywhere (although at some point in time, for Podcasts and video on iPods, you have to connect to the Internet).

?The future medium for information transmission will have something to do with citywide wireless networks.

?Just recently, the city of Denver put in place a system of wireless Internet transmitters that run on solar power, and receive the incoming Internet signal via satellite.

?Citywide wireless networks take away the need to download content to a mobile device, and instead allow the user to be connected wherever they receive an Internet connection.

?The challenge will be in how best to display the constant stream of information. It’s difficult for me to imagine that the screens on any handheld device replacing the morning newspaper or television. New screens that employ LCD technology could make it feasible to have a screen that would fit within a planner and be no thicker than a few sheets of paper.

?Combine that screen with constant connectivity, and that just might be the media of the future.