When Old School Rules

By Bill Hoversten


Recently I was paging through the L.A. Times as I waited for a train. A stranger on the platform unexpectedly asked me, “Do they still do that anymore?”

“Do what?” I responded, caught off guard. He pointed at the paper I was holding. “That,” he replied with a laugh. I realized he was calling me out for being old school – for perusing a paper that had been delivered to my door instead of to my inbox.

Now don’t get me wrong: I’m down with technology. During a busy day I do scan the food industry trades electronically, and use my phone for texts, e-mails and voicemails. But holding a paper newspaper is something I never grew out of.

Turns out my new friend had a journalism background and was now putting together a network of citizen videographers to shoot local news stories.

I told him of my work for Crier, where a major part of our work is helping food and beverage clients get their message out.

We chatted about our common experiences in journalism and about industry trends on the horizon – and a few weeks later arranged to meet for lunch. It was a pleasant connection.

But the encounter got me thinking: sometimes an old school approach will not only get the job done – but give you something more, too. For example, when I read the paper I not only see the words and images, but I feel the paper and hear it rustle when I turn the page. If I felt like it, I could even smell the ink. It’s a sensory experience.

A couple years ago, on a trip to San Francisco I saw people sitting in and around Golden Gate Park, selling their poems to passersby. But these poets weren’t offering computer printed copies. Instead they held ancient manual typewriterson their laps. They would type a custom poem for you on the spot, pull it out of the machine and hand it to you. You in turn would pull out $5 and possess a piece of vanishing history. It was so retro, it had become hip.

Texting or e-mailing someone is one way to communicate. Skype, incorporating visual and auditory, is better. Meeting in person offers even more sensory connection.

When we do celebrity chef events for our clients, key bloggers and media contacts show up to learn, sample, and even try their hand at preparing the chef’s signature dishes. So they’re involving all the senses, including enjoying aromas and tastes. A hands-on experience like that is memorable, going well beyond the impact of just an e-mail in their inbox.

So here’s to the latest tech trends – bigger, better, and faster. But here’s also to the slow food movement, classic rock, classic cars, Art Deco, and to some traditions that hopefully never die out. Sometimes Old School rules.

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