Happy birthday, United States!
Last year, I wrote my Fourth of July column on the role of newspapers in disseminating the news of the revolution. It took weeks for all the colonists to learn about the signing of the Declaration of Independence.
245 years later, news is almost instantaneous. If 56 delegates gathered today to separate themselves from the current power structure and form a new nation, you can bet we'd all be watching in real time — and probably retweeting the live video to criticize every detail.
Benjamin Franklin, one of America's first newspaper moguls, would probably be shocked at how many ways people receive news today. Would he have any patience for cable news channels? Would he prefer an e-paper so he could zoom in instead of using his bifocals? Would he like interacting with journalists on social media?
I like to think that Poor Richard would be an early adopter of news technology. As an inventor himself, Franklin was constantly learning new things about the world, so I think he'd figure out the internet quickly and use it to his advantage.
I can see old Ben as a highly sought podcast guest, pontificating about the latest issue in debate and sharing his latest scientific findings. He was also notorious for groan-worthy humor, so much so that the Continental Congress didn't let him write the Declaration of Independence because they were afraid he would sneak in bad jokes. That brand of humor is kind of perfect for the less formal medium of podcasts.
I'd love to invite him onto The Globe Minute, but I'm about two and a quarter centuries too late. In lieu of Franklin himself, though, we've been incorporating more segments into the Globe's twice-weekly podcast that hopefully encourage more interaction with the public. You may have noticed that editor Ryan and I have started ending the podcast with a Dad Joke of the Day. Franklin would have loved that.
Starting this week, we have another new feature: rather than my own voice welcoming everyone to the current episode of The Globe Minute, you'll hear the voices of community members. Listen in Wednesday and Friday mornings to find out who's up next.
I am proud to be part of the American tradition of keeping communities informed. I don't have a revolution to write about, but I am convinced that an active and engaged public is crucial to a thriving democracy, and I don't take lightly the small role I have to play in helping the public know enough to take action.
I love that working for a free press means lots of possibilities about how to deliver news. I hope that through our combination of print and e-papers, online articles and now our podcast, everyone has a way to stay in the know about what's going on in southwest Minnesota. Check out The Globe Minute everywhere podcasts are found, or at dglobe.com/podcasts, and let us know how it's working for you.