The story finished with shots of film across the movie screen. Close ups of negative film, getting prepped to make a newspaper, something to offer the world facts and ideals to live up to. Print publishing stands at the heart of State of Play, this spring’s movie about journalism, newspapers’ age, and speaking power to truth. Abby and I sat and watched the printing montage roll over the credits as she said, “The same way we still print the NewsWire.” I squeezed her hand and blinked back a tear, because print journalism remains stamped in my heart.
I entered journalism in 1980, an era when the only outlet for a deep story was pages of print. Pages created with the same method we use to make this newsletter you hold. Layout images become negatives, the negs become metal plates, the metal carries ink onto paper, the folded paper rolls onto a truck at the back door and into the world. Old school, like HP 3000 computing, built around old ideals.
But just like printed news, the costs to maintain these old ideals keep rising. This quarter the US Postal Service raised our rates to mail, and last year our ink and paper got a hike. Print journalism has no cost path to follow but upward. Experience with HP 3000 environments follows a similar track, since the resource of experts is becoming more rare. At the same time as old school economics creep up, online reporting and open source computing costs less. You may discover, if you have a wise eye, that you get what you pay for.
Near the end of State of Play, the print reporter Cal McAffrey shouts out a bit of gospel. People know the difference between journalism and chatter, he tells a politician. The former moves slower but is more certain of facts. The latter appears in legion, built upon opinion and spectacle.
But as we have learned here at the NewsWire, and you accept in your IT careers, the old and the new both deliver value. MPE/iX is superior in its elegance, reliability and its integration with hardware. Nobody will be tempted to use it to deliver Web-based information or drive applets with Java. There are fundamentals for any environment, however, and right at the bottom is genuine field information: support based on experience of participants in the real world.
To go forward with the 3000 as your computing heartbeat, you’ll need faith in your fellow man. Support solutions now flow from sources outside of HP. We’re now all working in the first year when the 3000’s creators will deliver no more hope of improvement or repair. This state of play is a risk some business owners cannot tolerate. Others see the risks in choosing the right replacement. For some, that’s a choice they cannot afford to get wrong.