Advisor’s Note: Small Revolution

By George Abbott White
Published: June 2010

A revolution took place at Denebola recently.

It was quiet compared to 2003, when the newspaper took a quantum leap by instituting no less than four major changes’€propelling Denebola into an age of the newer, digital technologies.

Rather than “pasting up with real paste, rubber cement, wax, sticking our “pages on “boards with super-toxic Spraymount, we composed articles on the computer screen and inserted or uploaded them onto and into digital pages.

Those pages were larger, broadsheet the size of the New York Times instead of much smaller tabloid.

For decades Denebola asserted the “truth was in “black and white, which was a polite cover for the fact that the newspaper did not run its images’€or anything else’€in color. During the 2003-2004 year we changed our mind,

Decades and more Denebola was “sent up to its steadfast, long-suffering printer/banker in Belmont, later Portsmouth by either driving the boards over before midnight, or, racing to the 128 FedEx (still later Logan Airport, desperately later, 72 desolate miles north to New Hampshire). Now, wonder of wonders, our electronic newspaper went’€literally and digital’€in bits and bytes having been pdf’d.

So our format was transformed first by size, then by color, then by composition and finally by the way the printer received our images, graphics and text.

So, what happened recently? Partly in response to the press of turning over issues from the standard 24 pages to monster 72 GRAD, Denebola instituted a print/publish test. Printing a monthly edition with a certain number of pages but publishing’€on our website’€a larger number/amount of images, graphics and text.

We know more and more of what was printed in magazines and newspapers is “going to the web but we continue to believe that the “craft of journalism’€in all its aspects’€is best learned and practiced first in the “old fashioned medium of print.

. Stay tuned.

* * * *

Another colleague deserves mention, in part because he deserves an apology.

Newspaper corrections are usually served up either near p1 or on the Edit Page. We mean no disrespect explaining our gaff to Dr. Marshall A. Cohen in the Advisor’s Note¦we have jammed all the other space with text or ads and since he and I are long-time colleagues and friends, it’s here Dr. Cohen gets the correction.

What happened? In May Denebola published a review of Diane Ravitch’s best-selling new book. An authority on schools and school reform, a conservative authority, Ravitch appeared to have done a 180 on such conservative stock-in-trade as testing, school choice and teacher training and evaluation.

For two decades we’ve relied upon Dr. Cohen for at least one hefty, well-thought and well-written review, and Ravitch in May seemed a no-brainer. Alas, time constraints meant no article but Dr. Cohen agreed to an interview.

As usual, his considerable knowledge and shrewd assessments were everywhere in evidence, without much difficulty the interview was edited and laid on the page.

But Denebola did not indicate what was printed was not Dr. Cohen’s usual written account but, in effect, an oral one. Does it matter? Certainly, and not only because as any Freshman knows, writing is within our current culture more ordered and focused, more precise and analytic, following forms of logic stretching back to Classical rhetoric.

Valued contributor, Dr. Cohen our apology.

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