BOBBY MAGILL

Journalist • Photographer

Bobby Magill is a senior science writer for Climate Central in New York and a journalist who has covered fracking and the environment in Colorado and New Mexico since 2001. 

The changing pace of tech, the Republican Party and Stephen Colbert's hair makes my head spin

I'm a bit surprised to be writing this before my 35th birthday, but it occurred to me while at a Society of Professional Journalists conference today in Denver that technology is progressing so fast that, apparently, some college students entirely lack the context of recent technological history.

During a session about blogging, a Westword writer recounted how his persistence in calling and writing the paper's editor landed him the job in 1990. Another SPJ participant, a college student looking for a job (the SPJ conference was populated nearly entirely by students, not working pros, incidentally), asked the writer if he persisted by just sending the editor multiple emails.

The writer looked across the room and said something to the effect of, "This was 1990. There was no email back then. I sent a paper letter." Other students talked about how their journalism training is in "multi-platform" communication, the most insignificant part of which pertained to a printing press.

The pace at which changing technology is changing the delivery of information and news to the masses is so quick that maybe it's easy to forget that computers didn't easily hook up to the internet just 22 years ago. (I wasn't even aware of the internet until 1995.) The idea that it may not occur to some college students today that email wasn't a something for the masses in 1990 is striking, and it reminded me of a few re-discoveries of mine last weekend, when I flew to Texas to clean out some of my old crap from my parents' garage.

Some of the things I discovered: