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Internet opens opportunity for Generation Y

When I was a student at Russell High School too many years ago to mention, I had the good fortune of having strict English teachers. They were good, they really were.

Interestingly, I can’t recall exactly which ones taught me the various rules of the language, as is the case with most people I suspect.

Honestly, I don’t recall many of the details of my high school education, only that I felt prepared when I entered college.

But there’s one class I remember pretty well. It’s one of the classes I could not have done without.

Typing.

And I took it as a sophomore.

I was remembering that the other day when I was helping my son, who’s in kindergarten, recognize the letters on a keyboard.

I was doing that as he was using the mouse as if he’d done it for years.

It was a stunning reminder of how much our world has changed … and is changing.

I have more capability in my cellular phone than anyone thought would ever be possible in a computer. Our technology is progressing so rapidly that I can only think we’ve become less personalized as a society.

E-mail this, text message that, instant message this and, if all else fails, leave a voice message.

Simply put, we live in different times. Here are a few facts that put this Information Age into perspective:

— One in eight married couples met on the Internet.

— A staggering 185 million people have registered on MySpace.com. Or, to put it another way, if MySpace was a nation, it would be the fifth largest in the world behind only China, India, the United States and Indonesia.

— About 350,000 people registered on MySpace … TODAY.

Oh yes, these times, they are a changin’.

It’s with this in mind that I think of our Web site, www.irontontribune.com.

Like a lot of newspapers, we often ask what readers would like to see in our print edition. But considering how much time we spend behind computer monitors, maybe we should be asking readers more often what they expect from our online product, which we relaunched Wednesday with a new design.

And maybe, we need to be thinking about attracting another audience, too.

For years the newspaper industry has groaned about “losing young readers.” My belief is that this industry never had an abundance of “young readers” in the first place.

Really, how old were you when you first started to read a newspaper regularly?

But with the Internet it’s different. There is an opportunity and perhaps a responsibility to attract young readers to the happenings of their community through newspaper Web sites.

But it is clear we won’t get them there with routine news stories that do not affect them and do not interest them. I can say with absolute certainty that I’ve never heard a teenager talk excitedly about a sewer project.

So youngsters, here’s your chance. Tell us what you like and what you want. Recognize that this newspaper is your newspaper.

If you prefer, go online and tell us what you like and what you want. If it’s more news that affects you and your school, that’s fine. If it’s entertainment, that’s fine, too.

Let us know.

Rick Greene is the managing editor of The Ironton Tribune. He can be reached at (740) 532-1441, ext. 12, or by e-mail at rick.greene@irontontribune.com.