The death . . . or perhaps the rebirth of page design?
There's no denying how hackneyed it is to lament (or rejoice, depending on your persuasion) the decline of printed news.
But if the sky collapses on newspapers, the words themselves will withstand its impact, much like the cockroach. The survival of words cannot be disputed. What can be, however, is the survival of page design.
Until I began drawing pages myself, I'd never given the viability of the skill much thought. Today, nothing can be taken for granted.
But visuals are incredibly important. Were the Star's pages filled with mere tombstones of words, you can guarantee readership would be down. Meaty stories and heads that soar can only do so much. Readers must also be engaged by good design. So what happens if a newspaper's future is intangible?
Site design is one thing, something The Guardian is indubitably good at. But sites generally do not replicate the experience of reading a page and this, I think, can change. If the death of print is inevitable, there are ways for the newspaper experience — and by this, I mean the experience of seeing how stories, images and shapes interact with and relate to each other on a page — to survive.
Some say it's doubtful that readers down the line will be bothered flipping through pages on a tablet screen. I disagree. For as many print detractors as there are bleating on about how the future is online, there are those both old and young who enjoy nothing more than poring over a page. If that page is to be ripped from their hands, there's no reason that its intrinsic design nuances must be tossed in the bin.
The Internet is a limitless phenomenon and based on that fact alone, there's more than enough room for pages to go digital if and when they must.
Lauren Crothers is a Star copy editor with one eye behind a lens. email@example.com