Hard Copy

It's probably a sign of my age and stage in life, but I cannot get in any habit of consuming information by podcasts. If I want to absorb facts, figures and ideas that I can retain for later use, I have to receive that information in writing and be free to highlight phrases and make notes in the margins of that document.

I'm so committed to or conditioned by this process that I even need to print online articles so I can take my pen to the text to help me embrace the author's message or mold it into mine. I remain an ardent advocate for the medium of printed words.

I'm apt to remember portions of long-form printed pieces much longer than texts and tweets; and if a printed piece is very good, or at least speaks to me, I develop a relationship with it through my underlining and notes, and it stays with me longer than audio and even video media.  

My preferences are demonstrated in the continuing commitment the Michigan High School Athletic Association has made to providing printed souvenir programs at the finals for most of its postseason tournaments as well as to a glossy, issues-oriented magazine (benchmarks) and hard-copy printed curriculum for our in-person coaches education program (CAP) when many of its counterpart organizations across the US have moved to electronic alternatives for these services.

I'm all for reducing the use and waste of paper for environmental reasons; but for educational purposes, print on paper still has a place in the modern world of communications clutter. Perhaps a never more important place.

Posted in: Technology


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About the Author

Jack Roberts

Jack Roberts has been at the helm of the MHSAA as its Executive Director since 1986, implementing programs and overseeing tournament administration and regulations for the Association which boasts 1,500 member schools, 10,000 registered officials and 13,000 head coaches.

During the last 45 years, Roberts has spoken to educator and athletic groups, business leaders and civic groups in almost every state and five Canadian provinces. He is one of the nation's most articulate advocates for educational athletics.

Roberts has served on the board of directors of the National Association of Sports Officials (NASO), is in his second term on the board of the National Federation of State High School Associations, and is the first chairman of the NFHS Network board of directors. He has been board president for the Refugee Development Center for nine years, and is a past-chair of the board of directors of the Michigan Society of Association Executives. He is chair of the board of trustees for the Capital Region Community Foundation for 2018.

He is a 1970 graduate of Dartmouth College, where he played defensive safety for the Ivy League's winningest football team during that span, and he sang in Dartmouth's close harmony vocal group.

His wife, Peggy, has retired from a 30-year career in social services, and is serving as president of the board of the Fenner Nature Conservancy in Lansing.