Personalized newspapers in space in 2259!

By Steve Outing

Take heart, newspaper aficionados and media curmudgeons. You’ll still have the comfort of the printed newspaper as you travel in space in the year 2259! (Well, that assumes you’ll be getting cryogenically frozen and are revived in a couple centuries.)

Credit my friend and colleague Christopher Ryan for spotting this look into the future. Chris was viewing old TV shows on Hulu.com and came across a 1995 episode of the cheesy sci-fi show Babylon 5. In this episode, “Divided Loyalties,” the writers envision newspaper reading onboard spaceships in the distant future.

Who would have guessed? Newsprint is still around, even in space!

Sorry I can’t embed the video here (Hulu.com doesn’t support that; grrrr), but click the image or the link above and watch just the first scene for the 1995 view of news consumption in the centuries ahead.

Oh, there’s advanced technology involved with Babylon 5’s edition of “Universe Today.” You get to tell the computer to personalize your paper with extra news about whatever you want, then it spits out your personalized paper copy.

But won’t the spaceship fill up with stacks of old papers? Of course not, silly. They recycle in the future. Insert your previous edition into the recycling slot and get your updated paper edition. As near as I can tell from this scene, you still have to pay for your newspaper, so I guess they solved that troubling free-web-content issue decades ago.

Ah, won’t the future be wonderful?! :)

Author: Steve Outing Steve Outing is a Boulder, Colorado-based media futurist, digital-news innovator, consultant, journalist, and educator. ... Need assistance with media-company future strategy? Get in touch with Steve!