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Whatever Happened to the Pen and Notepad?

By Benét J. Wilson, DJTF co-chair, Online Managing Editor-Business Aviation, Aviation Week Group

I was taking a spin through my Google Reader when I came across this post from the Flip the Media blog: Too Dependent On Digital Tools? I’m one of those old-school journalists that loves to go on about how when I started in the business, we used typewriters.  I kvetch and moan about how my job used to be simple, with all I needed to do it was a pen and a notepad.

Well, those days are gone, and this old dog has worked mightily to learn new tricks to stay relevant in my chosen career of journalism.  Writer John Stang — an old school journalist like me — started his post calling out journalists of his generation “who sulk on the sidelines about digital media passing them by. Wishing for the mythical good old days gets pretty boring pretty fast.”

Stang is enrolled in the Master of Communications in Digital Media at the University of Washington, so has his foot on both sides of the fence.   He noted that most of his classmates had laptops in class to type while the teacher was lecturing.   He said he was fascinated — and worried — that his classmates couldn’t have a discussion without leaving the laptop.

Stang made an interesting point — it’s hard to chase after a source after a press conference with your laptop to get more comments.  I love my laptop, but when I’m attending press conferences, panels and seminars, the pen and notebook still work best.  But I am looking at buying the Livescribe Pen, recommended to me by tech guru Mario Armstrong.  it gives me the best of both worlds.  What do you think?



Home of the National Association of Black Journalists's (NABJ's) Digital Journalism Task Force

One thought on “Whatever Happened to the Pen and Notepad?

  1. I have such a pen. I’ve been using it for over a year, and it’s been an awesome tool. Wish I’d had it as a student, but as a techwriter I use it daily to keep track of development team updates and send them out to engineering. It’s been invaluable. And the ability to search my own notes is still amazing to me. It actually works! Wonderful for doodleing too.

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