July 23, 2024

In a world rapidly evolving, technology has spread and changed various sectors, causing innovation and disruption. One of the sectors severely affected is the newspaper industry.
The rise of technology is a feat that remarkably elevated and appeased human life, whether in work, recreation, or in this case, news and information. Online news platforms, social media, and news apps provide accessible and instant updates. Sadly, people have shifted, patronizing these innovations that have overshadowed traditional newspapers.
As Baguio Midland Courier will soon close its final chapter, I reflect not only on the fate of print media but also on another cornerstone of society – our schools. Like newspapers, schools cannot escape the pressures of what modernity brings and their future hangs in the balance.
Like the media, schools serve as agents of socialization that shape an individual’s identity, develop the skills needed by the individual, and instill norms, values, and behavior that individuals must enact in society.
Historically, media is bounded by time and space. This means you must be physically present to grasp news and information. With the invention of print media, news can now be recorded, and information can be spread to a larger audience.
With the advent of the digital age and the rise of online platforms and social media, time and space became increasingly irrelevant, as information could be shared instantaneously and globally.
Before, students had to walk for miles and hours to attend school and learning requires physical appearance, as classrooms are the primary place for knowledge. However, with the advent of technology, time and space in education have seemingly become irrelevant. Students can now learn from anywhere in the world, at any time.
The parallels between the evolution of the newspaper and schools are notable. Due to the Covid-19, both were forced to adapt to the technology but experienced tremendous upheaval and had difficulty adjusting.
After the pandemic, we realized we can learn without going to the classrooms. Possibly, in a few more years, the physical structures we associate with schooling, buildings, classrooms, and libraries might become relics of the past. This possibility may be skeptical to some, but no one also predicted in the last 20 or 10 years that the tangible aspects of the print newspaper industry – printing presses, physical newspapers, and newsstands – are fading.
Another realization is that the role of teachers might significantly change or diminish. The need for teachers could decrease with the rise of artificial intelligence (AI), online learning apps, and virtual tutors. There is a speculation that AI might replace teachers. As some deemed it impossible, various sources state that AI will soon replace millions of jobs.
Consultation times among professionals, such as lawyers, doctors, architects, etc., decreased as many opted to seek Google for such inquiries. This juncture could lead to widespread job losses in the teaching profession, similar to the job losses seen in some sectors, such as the newspaper industry.
Modernity has also shifted our curriculum towards a more student-centered approach, where learners have greater freedom to choose the topics they want to study. For example, Massive Open Online Courses offer students flexible and specialized learning. While this flexibility can cater to individual interests and strengths, it also risks creating an unstructured curriculum.
To an extent, some students may comprehend material more easily through YouTube tutorials, Facebook reels, and other online resources. If traditional learning still existed, students would opt for these materials instead of going to school. Also, like how people selectively consume information on the Internet, students can ignore certain subjects, such as politics, if they find them uninteresting.
This selective approach mirrors how people engage with media, focusing only on topics that interest them. The lack of structure and comprehensive coverage in education can lead to increasing ignorance about important societal issues and diminish students’ overall knowledge.
The decreased sphere of influence of traditional learning and media led to a misinformed and illiterate generation. This is because many prefer learning or grasping their basic dose of information through social media platforms such as TikTok and Facebook rather than in schools.
If traditional modes of education and media were to cease, serious concerns would exist about how individuals would learn to fact-check, validate information, and critically assess content. Without structured educational frameworks, there is a risk that misinformation will proliferate, undermining public trust in information and institutions.
Modern trends have trapped us in a cave. Like the cave of Plato’s allegory, modern trends had blinds to reality. As we admit that modern trends such as social media and online learning offer us convenience and comfort, we have lost the ability to recognize what is accurate, as French sociologist Jean Baudrillard stated.
Although online learning and social media increase and improve communication gaps, there is also the possibility of modifying and replacing human interaction. Baudrillard fears that computer-mediated interaction disrupts the authenticity of human nature, which is hazardous and leads human society toward dystopia.
But there is hope for a future where tradition and innovation coexist. Embracing technology allows us to evolve and adapt, enhancing our capabilities and potential for positive change. I’m not much in the newspaper industry, but opportunities still arise. Various newspapers have been able to digitalize and serve well in their online platform.
As for education, it has benefited immensely from technological advancements. Online learning platforms can provide access to quality education for those in remote areas. Digital and online materials can offer interactive and personalized learning experiences. Through advanced technologies, researchers flourished which were able to solve problems or greatly aid the sectors they tend to serve.
As I visited and paid respects at the grave of Atty. Sinai Hamada, I wondered what he would say, knowing his greatest legacy would soon close its final chapter. Yet the dead still whisper, optimistic that it’s not the end, as carved in his tombstone, “Break in the sun till the sun breaks down, And death shall have no dominion.” This epitaph serves as a reminder that, even in closure, there is resilience and hope for rebirth. Perhaps the Baguio Midland Courier, too, will find new life in the digital age, continuing to inform and inspire, honoring its legacy in a new form.