Ocean City Today

You can’t hack a newspaper

By Stewart Dobson | Oct 26, 2017



printed 10/27/2017


When people ask me if newspapers have any advantage over Internet-based media, they generally expect me to respond with the usual yuk-yuk lines:

1. You can’t line a birdcage with a computer;

2. You can’t wrap fish with your smart phone;

3. You can’t paper-train your dog with an iPad … well, you probably could, but …

4. You can make numerous funny hats with a newspaper, but just one with a laptop.

Yuk yuk.

The real advantage that legitimate newspapers have over digital media? You can’t hack a newspaper story. You can write a bad one or even a false one, but it’s yours to own.

I will admit to having heard some years ago that a hacker was to blame for a newspaper photo caption that said a prominent Delaware politician, during a high school awards ceremony, presented an honor student with “a plaque and a big French kiss.” True story.

Personally, I would have gone with something more plausible, like elves, but that’s not the point.

You can’t break into or hijack printed material, which is why even if you disagree with what’s written, as people frequently will, you will know who wrote it.

Just the other day, for instance, I got a call from someone who asked to see our stories before they went to print.

“Hello, Mr. Editor. My name is Charlie and I ask for stories to read before time of printing my English to improve.”

Something about the caller’s tone told me this wasn’t on the up and up. Besides, the only “Charlie” I hear from regularly is the one who emails classified ad orders that say, “Bulldogs cheap for sale. Send credit card please info.”

Obviously, I rejected these requests, sharp operator that I am.

What our nonhackable enterprise means for readers is that they can have confidence in knowing that we are not the unwitting hosts of foreign or domestic agents who …


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