I was sitting in the lecture hall of my medical school as a first-year student when the attending physician, a gray-haired internal medicine doctor, asked a question which set off, for me, a maelstrom of emotions. He had just referenced a story in that day's Chicago Tribune which was relevant to his lecture on physiology.
"Just curious," he said. "How many of you even get the newspaper delivered?" Out of dozens of University of Illinois College of Medicine students in class that day — bright, eager, well-educated young people — my hand was the only one that went up.
I doubt anyone else gave it a second thought. It was a passing inquiry meant merely to highlight the changing times: pretty much every young person gets their news online these days, if they get the news at all.
But for me -- a former reporter for the Tribune and The Associated Press – the moment encapsulated one of the big reasons I was even sitting there. The rise of the Internet. The shifting demographics. The plunging circulations. The contraction of newsrooms.