Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Dave Eggers Interview

Via Steve Schenkberg's blog/site here's an awesome interview with Dave Eggers from The Rumpus. He talks a lot about his new nonfiction book coming out soon named Zeitoun which, based on the interview, looks likes it going to be a good read. The best part of the interview, in my estimation, is toward the end where Eggers is talking about print and Internet.

Eggers... I have optimism about print because I see these kids [students from Egger's 826 groups] and how much they love to read. And they work on our student newspapers and anthologies and a dozen other print projects. They really have a thing for print. And I do too. I fear sometimes we’re actually giving up too soon. We adults have to have faith. And we have to rededicate ourselves to examining what in any given issue of our daily papers is really speaking to anyone under 18. That’s a challenge. I was just in Chicago, and the Tribune there does all kinds of very interesting stuff to reach out to younger readers. It’s something that we all have to think about.

Rumpus: So you’re not looking at a post-paper world.

Eggers: My admittedly strange opinion is that we need to try harder with print. We can’t just give up on it. Inevitably there will be some loss of newspaper readership, but even that will stabilize. Not everyone wants all their news online. Do we all want to look at screens from 8am to 10pm? There’s room in the world for both online and paper. It doesn’t have to be zero-sum. I guess that’s one of the things that’s always frustrating to hear, that the rise of the Internet means the death of print. There’s always this zero-sum way of painting any given industry or trend, while the reality will be more nuanced. I think newspapers that adjust a bit will survive and still do great work. But we do need to give people reasons to pay money for the physical object. The landscape right now does require that we in the print world try harder. We have to think of the things that print does best, and do those things better than ever before. We need to use the paper, maximize the physical product."

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