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Newspapers See Writing On the Wall --Cagle

March 2009

Conventional thinking dictates that small, local newspapers will continue to flourish because they will address a niche that the Internet ignores: local news. For a while, I believed this to be true. Now, I see newspapers crumbling in succession, the process expedited by the economy. Within five to seven years, barring a major game turner, the U.S. paper will be pushed to the brink of extinction. It won’t go away completely, but its impact on American society will be severely marginalized.

The clock is ticking. Sad though it may be for those of us who are currently or previously members of the press, it’s just another reminder that change is a constant in our lives. 

TREASURED PAPERS: The butchering of Barack Obama’s presidential oath administered by Chief Justice John Roberts caused a bit of a flap and prompted Roberts to return the next day to get it right. It was a minor blip on an otherwise historic moment in the country’s history.

It is a safe bet that history will not remember the gaffe because of the dignity that is afforded such an event as the inauguration—particularly of the nation’s first black president. One can already imagine Obama’s profile on a U.S. coin some day, or on a postage stamp (if both items still exist in 50 years). Whether Obama actually accomplishes anything during his presidency will do little to tarnish what is already a watershed event in American history.

Thus, it’s understandable that Neenah Paper is all jazzed up about its distinction of having its Classic Crest eco-friendly paper selected for the invitation that was printed for Obama’s January 20 inauguration. More than one million inaugural invitations were engraved and printed on the Classic Crest.

Neenah has provided paper for the past three presidents’ inaugurations, according to the company. It traces the use of its paper for government documents back to the 1870s, when bonds and deeds were printed on Neenah sheets.

This isn’t marketing blather by a paper company. Historic documents hold their value well. On any given episode of PBS’ Antiques Roadshow, one can find an appraiser gushing about the historic significance (and monetary value) of a printed or handwritten document. 

Obviously, people didn’t think to store away anything and everything commemorating Abraham Lincoln in the hopes it would be worth money some day. But, in 100 years, demand will still likely outpace supply when it comes to Obamarabilia. PI

Erik Cagle


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