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#42

PAPER CHASE

March 31, 2014

Featuring:
Virginia Howell, Lee Clontz

OVERVIEW

Paper is the ubiquitous product we never think about. We may live in a digital universe, but paper, a very old school product, is still what keeps the pages of our world turning. Our money is still printed on it (to the tune of almost $1 billion a day), our books are still written on it (around 800 a day), and we still communicate with it (411 million letters a day). Despite these staggering numbers, there is no denying the sea change in culture and consumables. With that in mind, we decided to explore the past, present, and future of paper.

The Chinese invented paper over 2000 years ago.
The Chinese invented paper over 2000 years ago.

Paper, by its very nature, is meant to be temporary.  In fact, Americans throw away 4.5 million tons of office paper each year, enough to build a 12 foot high wall from New York to LA. So why is it that in the heart of Atlanta exists a museum dedicated to preserving what so many people toss in the trash? To answer the question about the permanence of impermanence we sit down with Virginia Howell, Education Curator of the Robert C. Williams Paper Museum at Georgia Tech.

The medium has changed, but the messenger is still with us.
The medium has changed, but the messenger is still with us.

It's no secret that newspaper sales are in decline. The clumsy black and gray rectangle that your father read each morning at the kitchen table is going out of style faster than yesterday's news; a coincidence. In its place, a glass and plastic tablet filled with an endless stream of information, pushing content and our need for trusted journalism higher than ever.  Let’s face it, The Times they are a changing.  Representing both mediums is Lee Clontz, an Emory journalism professor in charge of digital technology.  Lee joins us in the studio to talk about where we go from here.

We've got a great show for you, and we hope you'll look at paper just a little bit closer, perhaps in both a historical and innovative light. Please enjoy.

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