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MyView: Metamorphosis of qwerty journalism

September 07, 2015

Craig Palmer
A blank screen. A deadline. Your story to tell. These verities stir me daily and stir me still. I can hardly wait to read what I have to write. That's how it's been these 37 years with the Association. This day differs not in anticipation of the words you are reading now but in the finality of offering them in the ADA News as I embark on a new adventure defining the "R" word.  

When I started this gig, print was king, journalism a romantic adventure heady in an aroma of post-Watergate perfume and Wikipedia 23 years from Internet launch. My how things change and remain the same. I began my career in typewriter qwerty and end it in computer qwerty. Thus endeth 55 years of daily journalism. But journalism now is less your father's newspaper and more your daughter's digital content than when I moved from deadline-a-minute mainstream media to the ADA Washington Office on May 1, 1978. Yours is now a multimedia ADA News, delivered daily at and biweekly in print.

We've been through this together, you with your story and the ADA News telling it. What is changing rapidly and even as I write is that more of you are going more often to for news of your Association, your profession, your colleagues and your private and public partners in oral health. The ADA News is pushing more news to the website. Dual online and print publication of ADA News content is diminishing. More ADA News stories appear only online, unable to timely compete for print space.

Hard at work: Craig Palmer writes a story at the ADA annual meeting in Orlando in 1996.
It is my view that these trends will continue. The competition for dental news, for the information you need, for your story, will intensify in a seemingly limitless online marketplace you can access, and leave, in a click and not in a narrowing market delivering printed information on paper. That's not necessarily as I would have it, but as it is and will be.

The one constant in my 37 years of telling your story in the ADA News, in print first and then online in the earlier years, and then online first and print later for the greater half of those years, is your story in all its manifestations and permutations. This is all the space I need to say thank you for sharing your story with the ADA News. And thank you for the honor and privilege of reporting it.

The rest of the space is reserved for your story.

Craig Palmer, the ADA News Washington Editor whose familiar and frequent byline has introduced your stories in these pages and on, capped a 55-year career in daily journalism with his retirement from the Association Aug. 31. What's next? That story is yet to be written, he said.