The pace of change

The NY Times has a brief article on how people are using their iPhones primarily for personal reasons while users of other types of smartphones use them primarily for business or work-related needs. Not a report of eschatological significance, but I was struck by a comment in the article that began: "Traditionally, you had a smartphone because..." How old are smartphones? Five years? Ten? Enough, it seems, for a tradition to have developed and, now, to be departed from!As I write, the Times is engaged in a game of chicken with the unions at the Boston Globe, and seems to be serious about shutting it down if enough concessions are not made. One wonders how long newspapers are going to exist. Here in D.C., the Washington Post seems to shrink more each week.I wonder what future historians are going to be able to use in place of newspapers as a source of information on day-to-day developments. Already some newspapers seem to be using the print-editions for bare-bones reporting and then referring readers to their on-line editions. Are the on-line editions preserved anywhere, even by the newspapers themselves?

Rev. Joseph A. Komonchak, professor emeritus of the School of Theology and Religious Studies at the Catholic University of America, is a retired priest of the Archdiocese of New York.

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