Friday, November 14, 2014

The Daily Dinosaur

I just subscribed to our local newspaper.  For the first time in 5 years and in the early morning hours, I am getting a newspaper delivered to my door for my reading pleasure.  Every morning and afternoon this past week, I have plopped myself at the kitchen table and read the paper with great interest.

newspaper, news, online, digital, dinosaur

I've scoffed at some of the articles, laughed at others, and even tried to work the crossword puzzle, of which I'm clearly out of practice.  Even though the newsprint makes my eyes itch and causes me to sneeze, I have enjoyed reading that paper every single day section-by-section and cover-to-cover.

In this digital age, I have been getting my news by going directly to each large news organization's web page, instead of through that old archaic method known as the daily paper.  Most people have been predicting the newspaper is going the way of the dinosaur and will soon be extinct, but after my return to the paper platform, I hope their predictions are wrong.

The newspaper, for me, is enjoyable.  I've tried reading it online and the enjoyment gets lost as I try to navigate the pages while not smearing breakfast on the screen of my phone or getting breakfast crumbs on my keyboard.

With the cutbacks at many of the major newspapers, a lot of the characters and personalities of the past have been removed from the paper.  With the loss of Erma Bombeck and the retirement of Dave Barry, the Lifestyle section of the paper has lost some of its humor.  

While these 2 great personalities can never be duplicated, I greatly looked forward to reading their form of dry wit and humor in the paper a couple of days a week.  As a matter of fact, I memorized which days their columns appeared and would go directly to their columns on those days.  I miss that.

My husband loved the sports columnists.  Whether he agreed with them or vehemently disagreed with them was a subject of great debate in our house.  The newspaper was our conversation starter and it was something we could read at the same time without breathing down each other's necks or fighting over who gets the computer first.

Recently while sitting in the customer lounge at the car dealership, I perched myself in a corner spot where I could observe the behavior of the other 12 waiting customers (yes, I counted).  In this lounge, there is free Wi-Fi for those who want to play on social media, a bank of computer docking stations for those who need to work, a soundproof playroom for kids (my eardrums thank the dealership every time I'm there), 3 different wide screen televisions which were set to 3 different television stations, as well as a coffee table filled with multiple copies of different newspapers, and a number of magazines covering a wide range of interests.

For all of our focus on being connected every second of every day to our digital devices, 8 of the people in the waiting room were reading the newspaper, another was thumbing through a magazine, 2 were watching ESPN and discussing sports stats, and the last person was talking loudly on their cell phone about an impending child support court date.

It was surprising to see two-thirds of the people reading the newspaper, even though their cell phones, iPads, or laptops were also available.  How can the newspaper business be going extinct if 2/3rds of the people chose paper over digital?

The memories I have as a kid of trying to beat my brothers to the paper so I could be the first to read the Sunday comics are priceless.  The newspaper has also been a source of comedy for our family for years as we remember back to the day when one of my brothers was reading the comics on the living room floor, only to have our new puppy walk over and piddle on The Wizard of Id.

I know you can get the very latest update online and the newspaper's stories will always be a little bit behind due to printing deadlines, but, in a world filled with a need for convenience, what is more convenient than having everything laid out nicely right in front of you.  Oh, how I hope the newspaper industry doesn't go the way of the dinosaur and die off. 

Written by Christie Bielss

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