The Future Is Now | JIM FURLONG

Where are we headed? Where are we going and who will take us there? In which direction do we head? Those are my thoughts in this time ‘of the rolling year’ and they are fundamental questions.    

I proudly write for The Herald in its new online incarnation and hopefully will help chronicle the events of our time. Online is the way of a future. We have known for some time this was coming. The first newspaper I remember becoming an online venture was the august conservative The Christian Science Monitor. It had been in business since the turn of the 20th century, but the world changed and eventually CSM stopped its print version. That was not the end of The Monitor. It lives now online.

In the print world I have to report I have had a couple of horses shot out from under me over the years, so to speak. One was The Town Crier, published by Ron Pumphrey back in the 1970’s. It was a licence to print money, as Lord Thompson of Fleet once said of television. It was an odd little Ron Pumphrey creation that sold like hotcakes and the money rolled in. I grinded out copy for it on a variety of subjects. The goal was so simple. It was to be interesting. It was that.

The next paper to go “the way of all flesh” for me was The Western News. That was a nice little Conception Bay paper. I was the editor but we just could not get enough people to read it and it died. It was not a bad effort, but you must sell a lot of papers and get advertising revenues to pay salaries and printing costs. The math just didn’t add up properly 

Now we come to the on-line Newfoundland Herald, and I tell you honestly my hopes are high. We know that; “You have to dance with the guy that brung you.” We know our potential audience and we know what worked for Herald readers in print. We must find them, and more besides, and satisfy them. The Herald will have one foot in the future, as it must, but it will have another foot trailing lightly in the past. That is part of what we did for so long. It is part of our province. It is part of our history. The Herald reflected back on us the very things that made us Newfoundlanders and Labradorians. To know who we were is central to the idea of knowing who we are.

What is next for old “ Terra Nova” as the Water Street merchants used to call Newfoundland? 

Who knows where we are going? It is an important story to tell because of the realities that we must face. Do we have the courage to tell the story?           

Here we go into the future and a brand-new year. I cannot wait to see what is in store, just ahead, up around the next bend.