MEDIA COMMENTARY: Is Print Dead? Audio by MTSU Professor of Journalism Larry Burriss,

Jun 20, 2022 at 07:31 am by WGNS

OP-ED: Is Print Dead? by MTSU Professor Larry Burriss

In communication, is PRINT dead? With more on this subject in media, here is MTSU Professor of Journalism Larry Burriss with this week’s commentary…

COMMENTARY (Verbatim): “I don’t know how many times I’ve heard that no one cares about print any more. That print is dead. That print is so, is so, well, twentieth century.


Actually, with the development of the Internet, long after the development of print, print, in the form of typography, has become even more important.

Because of the Internet we are all communicating more often than ever before.

But it’s not just e-mail, Facebook and Twitter. Every time we go to a web site there are dozens of messages trying to get our attention. So every message sender is having to make sure their message is as effective as possible. Which means they have to understand how people comprehend the form of printing being used.

We know, for example, lower case letters are generally easier to read and understand. But with apologies to e.e. cummings, all lower case can be disconcerting, because we use both punctuation and capitalization to make passages easier to read.

Boldface has a sense of urgency. Italic type is used to set off long quotations, and also has an air of sophistication. And underlining? Well, a block of text all underlined just looks strange. Just look at how little underlining you see in advertisements.

All caps is seen as shouting, but sometimes we need to be shouted at. That road sign warning us of a railroad crossing isn’t asking for a discussion or a dialogue. It’s shouting at you, in all caps, because it’s giving you a serious warning.

And color makes the problems even worse.

You know, we can always tell new graphic design students because almost all of them want to use flashing red letters on a black background, which, if you’ve ever seen it, is almost impossible to read.

So, here’s what’s really interesting: typography represents the oldest non-verbal medium of communication. But it seems to be the only one that has withstood the ravages of the Internet. - I’m Larry Burriss” 

About Dr. Burriss

Larry Burriss, professor of journalism, teaches introductory and media law courses. At the graduate level he teaches quantitative research methods and media law. He holds degrees from The Ohio State University (B.A. in broadcast journalism, M.A. in journalism), the University of Oklahoma (M.A. in human relations), Ohio University (Ph.D. in journalism) and Concord Law School (J.D.). He has worked in print and broadcast news and public relations, and has published extensively in both academic and popular publications. He has won first place in the Tennessee Associated Press Radio Contest nine times. Dr. Burriss' publications and presentations include studies of presidential press conferences, NASA photography, radio news, legal issues related to adolescent use of social networking sites, legal research, and Middle Earth.

Dr. Burriss has served as director of the School of Journalism, dean of the College of Mass Communication and president of the MTSU Faculty Senate. He was appointed by Gov. Phil Bredesen to serve on the Tennessee Board of Regents. He was a lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Air Force and served on active duty in Mali, Somalia, Bosnia, Central America, Europe and the Pentagon.

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