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Opinion: Are we moving forward as our communication tools have changed?
A Zoom tablet is used in this Wauka Mountain Multiple Intelligences Academy second-grade class for online research. - photo by SARA GUEVARA

I was just on a Zoom Call with an aerospace group I still work with back in Colorado: Government and business reps from across the Denver metro area, additional participants from La Junta Colorado and little ole me here in Gainesville.  

We used to do these meetings as road trips all over Colorado. Used to.  

Nothing new about Zoom, but it’s being used a lot these days in place of meeting in person for work, school or with family. But it does have me thinking about the rapid evolvement, well sometimes, in how we communicate.  

Back in the day, the Apollo space program brought about huge progress in computing for one example. Not to compare COVID with Apollo, but the pandemic is sure bringing about change.  

On the plus side, people are still running their businesses, albeit in much different ways. Commuting replaced by maybe sleeping in a little bit extra. Riding the bus to school replaced by a few steps to a computer. Reporters don’t have to drive across town for a story.  

Just remember to wear nice tops, PJ’s are cool for below the waist. Shoes and socks optional.  

Businesses are open. Kids are getting an education. The Times is reporting about it all, often remotely.  

But lots of issues remain. In business being able to look someone in the eye in person is important. How on earth do you practice with your high school band? It’s being tried, but just the issue of different internet speeds is a challenge trying to get the band to play on. Some kids don’t have internet. Or computers. Reporters work best when working in the field. Where the stories are.  

How we move forward reminds me of this quote by legendary journalist Edward R. Murrow. Speaking in 1958 to the Radio-Television-News Directors Association, he spoke of a new thing called television.  

“This instrument can teach, it can illuminate; yes, and even it can inspire. But it can do so only to the extent that humans are determined to use it to those ends. Otherwise, it’s nothing but wires and lights in a box. There is a great and perhaps decisive battle to be fought against ignorance, intolerance and indifference. This weapon of television could be useful.”  

Those words certainly apply to the way we communicate today and moving forward. We are moving forward, right? 

Brian Olson 


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