Extra! Extra! Read All About It!

I keep coming across a bothersome (to me anyway) idea – newspapers are on their way to extinction.  This disturbs me because number one, I don’t like change and number two, I like to read the newspaper.

Here is some of the rhetoric I’ve read recently:

Clay Shirky, who teaches interactive telecommunications at New York University, makes what many would consider a heretical statement: “Society doesn’t need newspapers. What we need is journalism.” It’s clear the newspaper business will never be the same. (SHUT UP!)

Finding things that work is on every publisher’s and editor’s mind these days. The situation in Europe is not quite as dire as it is in the U.S., where plunging profits, shrinking staff numbers and bankruptcies are now all commonplace. But Europe’s newspapers are struggling just the same. Investment guru (and owner of a big chunk of the Washington Post Co.) Warren Buffett saw this coming. In 2006, he explained the depressing law of newspaper gravity at a meeting of his Berkshire Hathaway Corp.: “Newspaper readers are heading into the cemetery, while non-newspaper readers are just getting out of college. It’s hard to make money buying a business that’s in permanent decline.”

Read more: http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1880581,00.html#ixzz1NVRJHQ9m

I understand the dilemma; people aren’t buying newspapers as much anymore.  They can get their news online for free; although it sounds like that will be changing soon.  Online news providers are beginning to charge a subscription fee now too.

All of this has me wondering what the world would be like with out any newspapers.  You can follow the extinction timeline here if you want to see the future prediction of when news print will go the way of the Dodo bird.

What would we line our bird cages with?

How would we house train our puppies?

Without the morning newspaper countless men would miss their daily *ahem* “constitutional”.  (And I know from experience that newspaper has come in very handy in more than one out house over the years. Just sayin’)

We would be deprived of the Sunday paper sellers in their neon vests delivering the fattest paper of the week right to our car window! Oh the convenience of it!

How would future generations of children pretend to be very grown up while they read the funnies beside their parents while their parents peruse the serious news?

You’d no longer be able to double circle the want ads that appeal even if only in your imagination (or check the creepy but amusing single ads)?

How could anyone ever again start a really good fire in their fireplace without the aid of newspaper?

Old newspaper is great used along rows in your garden to keep the weeds down and then conveniently composts itself.  Brilliant!

Would people have to teach their dogs to “fetch the laptop, boy!”?

I used to make things out of old newspaper as a kid.  Mr. DressUp taught me to make a huge palm tree once; and hats, lots of hats.  Wait! Can you even imagine a kindergarten class void of dipping newspaper strips in glue and sticking them to balloons which then magically turn into paper mache masks? That would be criminal in my opinion!

Or stealing the opportunity for future generations to come across a heap of old newspapers we’d stored in our attics, forgotten about and then left for them to discover long after we’d died.  No perfect snap shot into what our lives were like; instead they’ll find obsolete electronic devices that won’t power up any more.

It saddens me deeply to imagine a world without newspapers.  I love all those words gathered, all the reporting and editing and racing to deadlines.  Such effort for each addition and we have the choice to skim the headlines or devour each and every story.  It’s our choice and then we can throw the whole thing away (or recycle it) without guilt because we know for sure that another will follow it the very next day.  Or will it?  Could the newspaper be on its way to extinction?  Sadly, I think it could happen.

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3 thoughts on “Extra! Extra! Read All About It!

  1. I understand your love for papers because of your love for words…but…

    I used to look forward to Saturday morning coffee with a stack of newspapers from the week. I would go through each one and savour it looking at everything. I loved the flyers. Afterwards I would wash the ink off my hands and carry on. Now I wake up alone Saturday morning to have coffee so I can’t be bothered to flip through by myself because it was the whole package I liked, flipping and talking solving the problems of the world.

    Last year I made paper machete with Jo and it was fun but messy for sure. I have the mask she made in my living room 🙂 One looks like it has a Hitler moustache. (I should really get her to change that)

    I usually buy a paper if there is a good head line but rarely take the time to flip through after spending the couple of bucks for it, not sure why?
    Tried using them to puppy train, she just shredded pee paper and that was that.
    I don’t let the kids make hats or anything else because they DON’T wash their hands after and then touch the walls 🙁

    I am glad we put the paper from the day the kids were born in their time capsule, especially now if they are becoming extinct…that will give me the opportunity to say “we didn’t have computers when I was a little girl we had these and we read them after a long day walking up hill to school…both ways, with no shoes in the rain 6 days a week so be thankful ya little brats” (kidding)

    Having said that I do like the hard copy of most reading material, especially books and magazines. Newspapers I could do without but tell me my Magazines are going and you might have me worried…mind you those too sit in the bathroom in a bin waiting to be read. Unlike a man I don’t just go in and sit, not usually that much time on my hands! I end up turning the cover away from me because it makes me feel weird looking in the eyes of Paul Walker as I pee.
    Books going online…don’t even get me started!
    xo

  2. I come from a family of newspaper men. At age 16 my dad had to take over the running of a small town Saskatchewan paper after his older brothers had to leave for the war. He found the stories,wrote the articles, edited, ran the printer and delivered by himself. He later spent most of his working life at the Pacific Press building in Vancouver working for the Vancouver Sun and Province newspapers.
    My uncle bought the tiny local Star City newspaper/flyer and turned it into a million dollar venture when he branched out and started selling advertising in other towns and cities across the province.
    I love reading the paper. I hate the mess they make, though. And I hate the fact that you waste so many resources printing them!
    I understand it’s a sign of the times but I’ll miss picking up a used paper at Starbucks in the hopes nobody else has attempted the New York Times Crossword and messed it up. Will Shortz is my idol!
    Already I’m getting much of my news online so that won’t change if the paper goes the way of the Dodo. I know I won’t be paying to read about murder and mayhem or sports scores or fashion advice or classifieds or OpEds. Why would I? There’s so much great writing on the internet that’s free for the taking- like here! lol !!!

  3. I had no idea you came from newspaper men Jacquie! Sounds like a great story in itself.

    I know the ink is annoying when it gets on everything but what do you expect for such cheap entertainment. It’s kind of fun to see people reading the paper with black smudges under their noses though.

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