Newspapers were once an incredibly efficient means of distributing information. Run huge rolls of newsprint through a printing press and a neat package of news is delivered to every doorstep.

But no more. Yesterday I took a river boat cruise on the Potomac river with some visiting family, and was fascinated to hear what the tour guide said about this innocuous building.

Washington Post Newsprint Dock

This is a warehouse where the Washington Post receives shipments of these giant rolls of newsprint.

Newsprint Roll</a>

Earlier, I had been reading reviews of restaurants in Georgetown on on my Blackberry, and it suddenly struck me what an anachronism that warehouse has become. Blackberry

On the same boat trip we passed another victim of technological advancement:

Watergate Steps

These steps lead up from the Potomac River to the Lincoln Memorial and were designed by Washington’s architect and urban planner, Pierre Charles L’Enfant, to be a grand gateway to Washington, where dignitaries arriving by boat would be received and whisked off in carriages. But dignitaries stopped arriving by boat, and instead arrived by train and later by plane. Now the steps are used by runners for a stairmaster workout and by tourists sunning themselves near the river.

I’ll bet that in ten, maybe even five years, that warehouse on the river will be storing something other than newsprint — or it will be demolished entirely.