We are so used to instant gratification in this wired age that most of us have little patience to wait for our news. If a story doesn't immediately load in our browser, we either look for it in a different website, or move on to the next one that's caught our 5-second attention span.

Most of us can't fathom what it would be like to be cut off from that free flow of news and information. But for those in many parts of Japan, that scenario quickly became reality following the earthquake and tsunami that ravaged the country.

Those obstacles didn't stop one city's newspaper from doing its job, to the best of its ability in light of the circumstances. Left without Internet service or even power to operate its printing presses, afternoon daily the Ishinomaki Hibi Shinbun began delivering news to surviving residents the old, old-fashioned way - via pen and paper - at the time when they needed it most.

For more on Hibi Shinbun's efforts to deliver the news in the wake of Japan's disaster, see yesterday's article in The Washington Post

Tragic events take people back to their most basic needs, and one of those needs is news. With or without the technology that drives our industry and seems to be propelling it ever digitally forward, people still need newspapers in their most basic form.

That was underscored this week in Japan, in 2005 in New Orleans, and will undoubtedly happen again the next time a natural disaster transforms a region's way of life.             -Tara McMeekin

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