Wednesday, February 18, 2009

What's black and white and read by fewer and fewer people every day?

Here are the two reasons I have resisted subscribing to the newspaper:

1. If the newspaper comes to our house I will spend a fair amount of time in the morning browsing through it, rather than paying attention to my children or doing something productive. (Or reading the news online, which generally includes updated versions of every story on the newspaper's front page.)

2. No matter how I try to stay on top of it, sections of the newspaper always seem to end up scattered around the house, adding to the mess that, incidentally, has gotten worse because I was reading the comics instead of cleaning.

Here are the two reasons that I finally caved and bought a subscription to the newspaper:

1. I am a sucker for high school students standing out in the cold trying to raise money.

2. I am a sucker for newspapers.

Really I can't help it. Newsprint runs in my blood. My parents owned and operated a small-town weekly, so I grew up surrounded by stacks of newspapers. I never had to go search for a job because they always needed someone to collate some inserts or proofread the gossip column.

Certainly the landscape of news media is changing, but I think it will be quite some time before everyone is willing to completely let go of the physical newspaper. I can't be the only one who finds deep satisfaction in reading the news without worrying about spilling coffee on the keyboard. Surely I'm not alone in finding it absolutely necessary to solve the Jumble before the day ends.

I can't be the only sucker. At least, I hope I'm not. For all its shortcomings, I really don't want to give up my real-life, tangible, low-tech, tactile, turn-your-fingertips-black newspaper.

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