“I’ve overheard your theory, ‘Nostalgia’s for geeks.’ I guess, sir, if you say so, some of us just like to read.” –Lady Gaga, “Applause”
Last Week, I Went on a Field Trip
Like many high school graduates, I never thought I would live through one of these again. Indeed, the permission forms, school buses, sack lunches, and exit buddies of field trips past were absent, but my classmates and I still violated personal space as we crowded into two university vans, and we still spent the school day learning an unforgettable lesson outside of the classroom, in the exotic land of Cheyenne, Wyoming.
The Magic of Field Trips Never Ages
As a suburbanite from the western United States, hours away from the closest state border, interstate travel has always been a special event. I can remember watching The Sopranos in disbelief over how the characters commute from New Jersey to New York and back, as casually as I would from Englewood to downtown Denver. For me, relatively new to Fort Collins, the prospect of nonchalantly driving from Colorado to Wyoming and returning by noon continues to be foreign to me, adding a mystical layer to the experience.
My copy editing class hosted the excursion. We visited the Tribune Eagle, the newspaper nearest Colorado State University that still prints on its own press, instead of contracting with a private digital printer. Printing presses are no longer manufactured in the United States, and it was a historic moment, to see one of the last of such artifacts operate as it has for decades before it, too, is retired.
The tour was significant to me, personally, because it was reminiscent of a fourth grade field trip to the Rocky Mountain News, which was to cease publishing five years later, after a century and a half of chronicling our times, older than the state itself. Now that I have illustrated just how much of a history nerd I really am, the two expeditions were similar because of the perfume of fresh ink, the dwarfing image of titanic paper rolls, the cacophony of machinery processing information which is essential to our liberty and democracy.
I Said I’m Proud to Be a CSU Ram
Let me praise our journalism department for emphasizing contact knowledge as much as they do. I am doubtlessly confident that my degree here will carry me far across the field of professional writing. Discussing the industry with the staff of the Tribune Eagle introduced an optimistic future to counterbalance the melancholy past. Yes, traditional media is changing, but in an age when literally anybody can publicize content without being held accountable for their authenticity, we need now, more than ever, sources we can trust to be factual and high-quality. The classic communications we recognize from the late nineteenth century onward, the news we absorbed throughout the seismic historical events of the 1900s, are fast becoming memories, but, as comfortable and familiar as that retrospection is, let’s not dread technology and the future.
Let’s choose to make it beautiful. Someday, it will be what we get nostalgic about.
Thank you for reading. Never take anything for granted, past, present, of future.
Paws up, and go Rams.