Newspapers and Education

The following quote from Warren Buffet about the newspaper business reminded me of my childhood:

“If Mr. Guttenberg had come up with the internet instead of movable type back in the late 15th century and for 400 years we had used the internet for news and all types of entertainment and all kinds of everything else and I came along one day and said I have got this wonderful idea. We are going to chop down some trees up in Canada and ship them to a paper mill which will cost us a fortune to run through and deliver newsprint and then we’ll ship that down to some newspaper. We’ll have a whole bunch of people staying up all night writing up things and then we’ll send a bunch of kids out the next day all over town delivering this thing and we are going to really wipe out the internet with this; it ain’t going to happen.”

You see, growing up, I was a morning paperboy. I didn’t complain about rising at 5 AM and enjoyed the fruits of my labors. I also learned to love reading papers. But now, do you even know a paperboy? Could we find girls or boys willing to get up even if people wanted newspapers?

For goodness sake, I don’t even read the paper anymore! Don’t worry, I do read the news on the web—for FREE (and I watch for fake news)! This change amazes me since my first job was in the newspaper field and I spent a lot of time reading the newspaper. 

But I think Buffet was making a bigger point.

For me, the relevance is to education. How soon will we look back to the desks in rows and the teacher in the front of the room with wonder? We will wonder how did that work and even why did we do that? We will wonder why we let traditions and unions and governments hold us to a model when there were better options for the taking? We will soon embrace cheaper and more effective options—just like using the internet for news instead of reading the morning paper.   

Yes, there will be educational jobs lost and new jobs created. I get to work in one of those new educational fields and I love it! You may choose to be one of those that bring about change at your school using tools that did not exist 20 years ago. You may choose to learn differently like the students in 50,000 enrolled classes have done at Sevenstar in the past 12 years. Or you could be like the paperboy that is looking for papers to deliver to people that want them? 

Thanks Mr. Buffet, for making me think. I want to be part of the change in education and invite you to join me. The future is very bright, and we shouldn’t hold on to the past if there are better ways available. 

Author

Dr. R. Mark Beadle, CEO and Head of School at Sevenstar. Follow Dr. Beadle on twitter @markbeadle7.

Reference

Blodget, H. (2018, July 23). Buffett On Newspapers. Retrieved from Business Insider: https://www.businessinsider.com/henry-blodget-buffett-on-newspapers-2009-5 

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