Anyone over the age of 30 does and yet today the number of people who use the yellow pages is a tiny fraction of what it used to be.
I can’t tell you the number of times in my own business I would receive phone calls from yellow page salespeople trying to convince me why my consulting business needed to have a big block ad in the yellow pages. These salespeople were trying to use their standard sales pitch on every business.  Tailoring the presentation to the needs of the customer is absolutely essential. When someone is selling what they believe is a monopoly, it is only natural they become arrogant and stop listening to the customer.  When salespeople stop listening, customers will in time stop buying.
After 25 minutes of fruitless searching through outdated posts on genealogy forums, I close the lid of my laptop in frustration.
It was either that, or confess to my editor in the eleventh hour that I had art but no story to go with it.
So I flipped through the local phone book (after locating it behind a row of cleaning products in a lonely kitchen cabinet) until I reached the B section of the Walla Walla white pages.


Now I'm not trying to sound overly dramatic, but this small discovery felt almost like going back in time. Getting back to the present, I hope my misadventures with the phone book will serve as a reminder to all young reporters out there: In the digital age, with more information available online than ever before, we still need to remember the basics. Plenty of online material isn't searchable, and far more material isn't digitized at all, but rather resides in dusty filing cabinets and library basements. To scope out stories and suss out sources, reporters must rely on all of the tools at our disposal, both hi-tech and low.
I'm right up against deadline on my holiday feature, and trying feverishly to track down contact information for any living relatives of a Walla Walla, Wash. I'd gotten so comfortable with the assumption that all the information I could possibly want or need was available online that I was on the verge of giving up. According to The Chronicle of Higher Education, only a tiny fraction of archival material has ever been read, let alone posted to the internet.


Sometimes, when all else fails, the solution might be as simple as remembering to check the phone book.
If Google wasn't returning any relevant results, I reasoned, the information just must not exist.
Google estimates that there are upwards of 129 million books in the world, but only 15 million (about 12 percent) have been digitized. I was reminded of all the times growing up when I'd forget to write down that night's homework assignment, and my parents would bust out the trusty phone book to look up a classmate's last name so I could call them up and ask.
Since we lived in a relatively large city and I wasn't in the habit of memorizing the names of my peers' parents, it always had to be someone whose last name was fairly unique or had an unusual spelling.



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