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At the risk of Gabe Semenza calling me "Gramps" again, I'll start by saying I remember a simpler time.

When I was a cub reporter, you just worried about getting the story and maybe responding to a phone call or two from readers. You hardly even worried about photos -- that was someone else's job, after all.

Of course, today's reporters do it all -- take pictures and video, work closely with the multimedia team, Tweet, post to Facebook and, oh yes, still get the story. They have the benefit of tools such as smartphones with more computing power than Apollo scientists used to send a man to the moon and instant access to research that I never imagined possible back in 1982. Yes, children, I went to the library and researched the periodical section to try to find some national context to local stories I was working on.

As we head into 2011 -- and, boy, does that date still seem odd and futuristic to me -- reporting continues to evolve. At its core, though, a good story is still a good story.

What's exciting is the new ways we gather and present that story. We get about a dozen story ideas every week via Facebook. If you're not a fan of the Advocate's Facebook page, we hope you'll join the 1,600 people already there. The number of readers visiting our website from Facebook has grown from 30,000 in 2009 to 150,000 this year. I'm not sure what ever happened to picking up the phone, but we're happy to hear from readers in any way that's convenient for them.

I also never imagined back in the '80s that a newspaper would have a way to complement its print series with a feature-length documentary, an interactive timeline, a photo gallery, a blog written by the subject of the series, links to related resources and, soon-to-be-added, an interactive graphic explaining the issue in detail. Yet, we have all of that with our series called "A Father's Strength" at

My older sister had a 45-rpm record collection that I liked to raid as a kid. Yes, Gabe, we used to listen to single songs on a vinyl disc that spun around beneath a needle. I still remember buying my first 45, "Dizzy," by Tommy Roe. "I'm so dizzy, my head is spinnin'."

But my sister's 45 that seems most fitting for today's post is "2525" by Zager and Evans. When I was a kid, 2011 seemed as far away as 2525. What's the difference between 50 and 500 years to a 5-year-old?