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Editors Discuss Industry Trends, Medical News of Future

March 31, 1993

BALTIMORE (AP) _ The newspaper of the future won’t be read on a home computer or a television, but on a hand-held screen the size of a magazine, said Roger Fidler, director of the Knight-Ridder Information Design Laboratory.

The device he calls a ″tablet″ should become available by 1995, although newspapers probably won’t put them to use that quickly, Fidler said during a workshop at the annual convention of the American Society of Newspaper Editors.

Tablets will combine text, audio and full-motion video segments of about 10 seconds in length, he said. The video portion would be activated by touching an image on the screen with a pen that’s attached to the tablet.

Fidler said information for the daily newspaper would be delivered to the tablet through several methods - fiber optic telephone lines, cable television lines, or direct satellite broadcast.

Fidler, who developed the first computer graphic system for newspapers, said the tablet publications will probably develop alongside newspapers for the next 20 years.

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BALTIMORE (AP) - Newspapers can reach new audiences through publications that target children, young adults, upscale couples, minorities or sports fans, an industry official said.

Carol Ann Riordan, associate director of the American Press Institute in Reston, Va., used the Sun-Sentinel of Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. as an example of how newspapers can produce ″niche publications.″

The Sun-Sentinel has reached new readers and advertisers in the last two years by distributing three new publications that target young adults and Hispanics, said Gene Cryer, editor and vice president of the newspaper.

The first rule of starting a niche publication is ″you don’t apply the same rules″ as to a newspaper.

The Sun-Sentinel has launched three niche publications: Exito, a Spanish- language tabloid, and XS and Ice, alternative entertainment weeklies.

XS ″was kind of sleazy″ when it first started, containing a lot of advertisements for strip clubs, he said. ″But it has evolved into an alternative newspaper with an attitude″ that reaches singles and childless couples in the 18 to 44 age group.

But Ms. Riordan cautioned editors not to expect readers of niche publications to become regular newspaper subscribers.

″In a lot of cases, you’re not going to be bringing them into the main paper,″ she said.

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BALTIMORE (AP) - AIDS, advances in transplant technology and discoveries about the brain will dominate the medical headlines of the future, a panel of doctors said.

But the doctors said during a workshop at the annual convention of the American Society of Newspaper Editors that it is difficult to predict health trends, pointing to the speed with which the AIDS virus appeared on the medical landscape.

″No one would have predicted an epidemic of cholera would hit this hemisphere. No one predicted AIDS, no one predicted Lyme disease,″ said Dr. John Bartlett, chief of infectious diseases at Johns Hopkins Hospital.

Dr. Solomon Snyder, director of neuroscience at Johns Hopkins, said scientists are just beginning to understand the brain and the various chemicals it uses to send signals between brain cells.

A variety of issues concerning transplants must also be resolved, including the rights of donors, and animals whose organs are used, said Dr. Alfred Sanfilippo, who chairs the pathology department at the hospital.

Sanfilippo urged the editors to cover the subject carefully.

″There will be plenty of headlines, and what you write about will affect tens of thousands of patients awaiting transplant,″ he said.

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