I’ve been married for 24 years (this august), and during almost all of that time, we have taken the local paper, likely delivered by a very young person (who hated their job) or their kindhearted (grumbling) parent.
My breakfast routine has revolved around the newspaper. I have fond memories of leaving my apartment, grabbing the paper from the patio, and heading to the University. After my 7:45 class, I’d make my way to the Union Building, where over coffee and a bagel, I’d spend the next hour or so reading. Years later, I’d bring it to the library where I worked, or take it with me to a coffee shop. I’ve read it on my patio that crazy summer we adopted our first dog, and she refused to sleep past 5:30 or be alone outside. Wherever we have lived, It has been a constant fixture.
This morning, I called and cancelled my subscription.
I did this for two reasons-
One- Delivery at my current home sucks. I’ve gone as many as ten days in a row without a paper. Calls to the parent company resolve the issue for a short time, but it never completely fixes it. I know it isn’t the best of jobs, but it really isn’t a difficult one. My address remains constant and my house is the same color, rooted in the same location. It is beyond frustrating.
Two- The diminishing size and quality of the paper in general. Entire sections, features, articles, editorials, comics, staff, have all have been discontinued. Subscriptions continue to decline, and most of the focus has shifted online. I get it. News needs to be delivered in near real time. Waiting until the following morning is not a legitimate option. The print edition is no longer a priority.
The newspaper I used to spend my morning devouring no longer exists. And that is fine, I guess. Things change, the world turns, different ways of doing old things push innovation forward. Fighting against that sort of thing is waste of energy. I certainly can alter something as insignificant as my breakfast routine. I have a desk, a computer. I can peruse the online edition over a bowl of Special K. Fond memories can remain just that.
Besides, the local paper may figure out better ways of creating a print edition. They may restore features or find new ones that appeal to me.
After switching from vinyl to CD, I never thought I would want or buy another record. Things come back round. People read and buy actual books again, and for a time, everyone had me convinced digital was going to be everything everywhere. But books are a different animal. Rarely does their content age itself out of relevancy overnight.
I can’t envision it now, but maybe there will be a time when the immediacy of news won’t be a hindrance to a quality print edition of the newspaper. Perhaps the content will shift and become more feature based, filled with local interest stories, investment and financial advice written by qualified professionals. We might see the return of in depth, hard hitting investigative journalism, shock and awe replaced with thoughtful, informative writing that seeks to inform and enlighten.
If that does happen, I will certainly want to participate and support such an endeavor. Especially if they switch to drone delivery.