Dispatches | August 30, 2010

Brevity’s Nonfiction Blog featured a note today from R.T. Smith, editor of Shenandoah, a journal many back issues of which are on a shelf behind me, concerning the expansion of its digital presence and the end of its sixty-year run as a print journal.

This is old news, but news to me, and my immediate impulse, for what it’s worth, is to voice my support for print, because despite Egon Spengler’s insistence as long ago as 1984 that “Print is dead,” I still believe in it, for reasons that have been articulated many times over  across the blogosphere and even outside of it, nowhere more memorably (to me) than in Nicholson Baker’s 2001 book Double Fold, which addresses the ’ tendency among libraries to throw out their print collections in favor of digitization.

The soberer approach, however, might be to see a move like Shenandoah’s – as many others do – as a natural step in the progression of a literary journal that intends to be accessible and relevant in an increasingly digital literary world.  And there are advantages to a move like this one; as Smith’s note reads,

“While many of us harbor divided minds about the dwindling of the physical print medium, I’m enthusiastic about the possibilities – from audio presentations to ease of access and extended audience and more frequent updates – presented by this brave new world of the Internet.”

This is a subject worth discussion far beyond what I can conjure up on my own this Monday afternoon, but I can agree with the above-quoted sentiment wholeheartedly, and not a little because of the nature of my current affiliation with TMR.

Robert Foreman is The Missouri Review’s Social Media Editor.