The news of the day . . .
I grew up in a household of newspaper readers. As far back as I can remember, two papers came to our home each and every day, one in the morning, another in the afternoon. In my dad's job, he read many more from around the country in addition to those local editions. In retirement, he took three daily papers. These days, at least when I'm in Virginia, I subscribe to two.
Add in my background as a newspaper journalist and the news out of New Orleans recently that the Times-Picayune would be cutting back to three print editions per week was like a blow to my heart. I know times change. I know people get more of their news online, but for me there is nothing like grabbing that daily paper -- ink-stained fingers notwithstanding -- and reading in-depth about what's happening in the world.
I like checking the sports scores, the movie listings, the comics and doing my soduko and crossword puzzles. I have never, not once, willingly done any of this online. I say willingly because movie listings seem to appear erratically in print these days so I have been forced to look online for those. Hate it.
Maybe my aversion has to do with a combination of being old-fashioned and stubborn. Or maybe it's because I'm on a computer for hours at a time writing and have no desire to be on it for anything more. Whatever the reason, the thought of relying on the Internet for the news of the day horrifies me. TV news, which I also watch off and on throughout the day, doesn't come close to fulfilling my desire to know what's going on in my neighborhood and around the world. I need more than headlines. I prefer in-depth reporting.
I gather from the news reports that the New Orleans paper will continue to print on Wednesday (food sections and grocery store ads being the stated reason), Fridays (weekend happenings, movie and entertainment ads) and Sundays (all those special advertising sections). Are you seeing the pattern? It's not even remotely about keeping a community informed. It's about making money. Obviously newspapers are a business, but few that I'm aware of have found a way to make digital editions profitable. That implies a smaller, less experienced staff providing whatever slim coverage there is. In today's complicated world, we need to be better informed than I fear we will be.
The New Orleans paper is not the first that has gone to this schedule. Sadly, it probably won't be the last. I'm bracing for the day when either of my cities -- Washington and Miami -- jump on this trend. If your paper has done this, I'd love to hear how you think it's working out. Do you read the online editions? Rely on TV? Or just do without any sort of timely news reports? How do you keep up with what's going on in the world?
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