April 8, 2009

All The News That's Fit...

When I was, I don't know, 10, I wanted nothing more than a typewriter for Christmas. I got one and immediately set about making a homemade newspaper. I'd sketch out headlines, make fake advertisements and come up with illustrations for the articles, instead of pictures, then I'd cut the whole mess out, put all the elements together and convince my dad to take the whole thing to work and make copies. Copying made it, like, official. And it was cool. Like laminating stuff. After what I'm sure was a long day at work, my dad would return with a folder full of my newspapers. I'd staple the pages together and deliver the news.

I was a bit of a dork.

When I got into junior high school, I worked on the school newspaper, The Raider. Despite the fact that the sponsor - an English teacher named Ms. Felcman - was a raving lunatic in need of a lifetime supply of lithium who should never have been instructing junior high school students in anything, I loved it. In high school, I continued to do the journalism thing, as editor of the paper for three years. I'd planned on majoring in journalism in college but that went out the window when I was accepted to a beautiful school in Virginia with absolutely no journalism program whatsoever but that, instead, sported a female to male student ratio of about 7 to 3. Life is all about priorities, hard decisions, and compromise.

What do these tales of adolescent dorkhood and teenage hornyness have to do with anything? It all helps explain why I feel sad whenever I see that another newspaper has bitten the dust, something that is happening with stunning regularity.

The Rocky Mountain News is gone. So are The Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Ann Arbor News, Journal Register Philadelphia and the Kansas City Kansan. The list of dearly departed newspapers also includes the Tahoe Daily Tribune, Baltimore Examiner and USA Today International Edition. But wait, there's more. Circling the drain are the Tucson Citizen, The Detroit Free Press, the Christian Science Monitor and The San Francisco Chronicle. The newspaper is dying.

My own hometown paper - The Washington Post - has systematically gotten rid of or at least watered down every feature I previously enjoyed. It's Sunday Source section was brilliant so, of course, they axed it. The Post's Book World didn't compare to the New York Times' weekly book porn but it was something. Now, however, it's nothing. Another victim of poor circulation. And now the arts and style sections are suffering.

I'm convinced that newspapers are caught in a giant death spiral. Fewer subscribers lead to less revenue which leads to less content which, in turn, leads to fewer readers. I don't think it's a spiral that the newspaper industry is going to recover from. And that would make me sad.

We in the Cactus-Fish household subscribe to The Washington Post. But all this leaves me with something of a conundrum. Despite the fact that I find almost no redeeming value in The Washington Post beyond the fact that they occasionally give me a shout out in their Express daily edition (Hi, Washington Post!), do I cancel my subscription? Or do I continue, make a point, continue to support an institution that I recognize is on its last legs?

What about you? What are your newspaper habits? Do you subscribe to a paper, read one occasionally, or avoid them altogether? And what do you think about the death of the industry? Is it sad or just about time?

Posted by Chris at April 8, 2009 6:41 AM

Yes, I subscribe to the Houston Chronicle. Fair and objective reporting? Hardly. But, my husband and I feel a sense of duty to not only all of the people who work there but even the guy who delivers it at 4:30 am. I don't read it every day because I end up getting most of my news online.

I love your story. I got a typewriter when I was 13 and set about writing a Pulitzer worthy story about a girl and her horse. Ha!

Posted by: Debbie at April 8, 2009 7:04 AM

I'm a reporter at a business journal. And I'm scared. 'Nuff said. :(

Posted by: Traci at April 8, 2009 7:49 AM

I have been reading newspapers every since I learned how to read. We grew up with three every day - the local paper (Meriden Record-Journal) had a morning and evening edition and the NY Daily News (hard hitting journalism!). Sundays were three papers - the local, New York Daily News and a Boston paper (have NO idea why that one).
Now it's still the local every morning and then at school I swipe the New Haven Register to read about what's happening just south of me. The local paper is me and north of me.
It's sad that newspapers are disappearing because there's nothing like sitting with a cup of coffee and the morning paper. I think they provide alot of useful national, international and local information and I don't think I will ever not subscribe to my paper (also it allows me to read it online which, when it's late, I'll do).
I taught myself to type and I've always loved typing on a typewriter. I hit the keys so hard sometimes I'm surprised I didn't break them. We had some really old ones and then my aunt gave me her portable.

Posted by: NancyJak at April 8, 2009 8:17 AM

We get the Denver Post. I don't even really have time to read it most days, but I have this fantasy that when the last child is a few years older and when I'm not in school anymore, that I'll be able to wake up and get my coffee and my paper and have some time all to myself. I guess I could curl up with my laptop, but it's not the same. Then I'd just ruin my keyboard with all that coffee. See! Not the same!! It's sad.

Posted by: sunshine at April 8, 2009 8:20 AM

i used to get the free press...read it almost front to back with my morning cereal..then the guy started delivering it after i went to work (dang)...and listening to news radio made the late paper kinda worthless... so i quit it even tho they offered me 2 weeks free... and when they combined parts of the detroit news and free press? what the heck was that??? i miss my paper terribly...it was like my best morning friend... but, when they cut down the delivery to 3 times a week... and had a never before "free" day... i didn't even get it then... cuz i forgot when they said that was gonna happen... add to that the fact they are thinking of cutting out saturday delivery of the mail? yikes!!! but then, no bills on saturdays right?

Posted by: the unicorn at April 8, 2009 8:22 AM

We always subscribed to our local paper until about 5 yeas ago. I just stopped renewing. It seemed that it was more ads than anything and by the time it went to print, all the "news" was old. I had already seen it on tv or the internet. Besides I can't get over the colossal waste of paper used in printing newspapers. I think that the newspaper is becoming obsolete. I read our local paper on the internet every morning now.

Posted by: Lisa at April 8, 2009 8:25 AM

I haven't read a dead tree edition of the news in years. The world needs journalism. We don't need newspapers. I don't know what business model will allow journalists to thrive in the future, but selling eyeballs to advertisers by printing papers ain't it.

Posted by: COD at April 8, 2009 8:31 AM

unfortunately I am one of the people to blame as I don't subscribe to papers anymore. But on the flip side, I have found that some papers websites have come up with great ways of getting traffic. Look at the St. Petes Times..they came up with this Obama meter to track his campaign promises. So even though the papers are going away, I find the papers are some of the most inventive people on the web.

Posted by: Darren at April 8, 2009 8:41 AM

I haven't had a newspaper delivered since the Houston Post died. I loved that paper.

I kinda liked the Boston Globe when I lived there, but I never subscribed.

I don't think it's "time." I think newspapers are extremely important. But there's no way they were going to survive being so WILLFULLY (and arrogantly) resistant to change.

And the death of the Rocky Mountain News freaked me right out. They were a trashy rag, no doubt, but they covered the Civil War, ferchrissakes.

Posted by: Elise at April 8, 2009 8:45 AM

I had a blue typewriter that I frickin' loved. Also, my neighborhood friend and I had a newspaper called "The 6th Avenue Press"...we would get copies (so legit) and distribute. I think at one point, we tried to charge 10 cents. Sadly, we had no subscribers.

Posted by: Jane in Pa at April 8, 2009 8:46 AM

PS: I do read newspapers -- I read the NY Times, The LA Times and the Washington Post -- but only online.

I don't read newspapers with crap websites. And I don't feel sorry for them when they die. If you haven't at least attempted to figure it out by now, you don't need to be in business.

Posted by: Elise at April 8, 2009 8:50 AM

My husband and I read the Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal every day. And yes, I agree with you, I loved the Sunday Source and the Book Section and the paper has gotten progressively suckier with each passing day. Did you notice how they have smooshed the Business section into the first section? And the comics are crammed onto two pages making it difficult for my middle aged eyes to find my favorites. I too am contemplating letting both paper go once their prospective subscriptions run out. It really saddens me. A hot cup of coffee and the daily newspaper is one those rituals that says "Hey, let the day begin!"

Posted by: denise at April 8, 2009 9:15 AM

My husband and I read the Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal every day. And yes, I agree with you, I loved the Sunday Source and the Book Section and the paper has gotten progressively suckier with each passing day. Did you notice how they have smooshed the Business section into the first section? And the comics are crammed onto two pages making it difficult for my middle aged eyes to find my favorites. I too am contemplating letting both paper go once their prospective subscriptions run out. It really saddens me. A hot cup of coffee and the daily newspaper is one those rituals that says "Hey, let the day begin!"

Posted by: denise at April 8, 2009 9:15 AM

I subscribed to the Minneapolis Star/Tribune for years, but gave it up quite a while ago (missed deliveries, costs, etc.). I read the news online for years instead, and yes, I got the information I needed, but I found that I missed the tactile joy of reading a print newspaper. So, I just recently resubscribed to the St. Paul Pioneer Press, and my wife and I find ourselves sitting and reading the Sunday paper together during breakfast, sharing and discussing the articles, etc. Something we never would have done while reading the news online.

Posted by: J at April 8, 2009 9:22 AM

It is sad and then again, it isn't.

Sad because reading newspapers have been an integral way of life, a ritual of sorts for hundreds of years for millions of people. What was read in a newspaper was nearly 100% guaranteed to be true and verified, hence delivering something to trust and respect.

But as the pendulum has swung in the other direction and the media industry has continued to consolidate into an oligopy (not quite a monopoly), newspapers have been seduced, if not coerced, into running not news, but sensationalism. The competition is not the Internet news sources, but the human draw toward the bizarre, the obscene, the gossip. We can't help it. It's in our DNA.

As a former founder and publisher of a well-known business journal, it's the evolution of free press that is changing, therefore the death of newspapers as we know them isn't that sad. It's the death of easily accessible, verified and truthful reporting that is sad. The printed newspaper is just the vehicle.

If there continues to be a demand for truthful, verified factual news of issues and events that matter (and only then), will humans with all their ingenuity and creativity develop a new vehicle to replace the traditional "newspaper". That is, if we as humans really do care more about what matters, rather than passively accepting information that simply grabs our attention.

It's up to us to drive demand regardless of the type of vehicle that delivers it.

Posted by: Karen at April 8, 2009 9:32 AM

We will continue to subscribe to our paper until they shut it down. I don't know what we'll do then. I get my news from tv and internet, but my Chris prefers the paper.

Actually, he refuses to even touch a computer and thinks that the internet is a source of evil and should be destroyed.....

Posted by: sherri at April 8, 2009 9:50 AM

I think it is sad to see the industry going away but I guess like trains they will be like an antiquity one day - something our kids will go to museums to see and try to fit their brain around the whole "industry" and what it meant to America. I mean I remember sitting around as a family (totally dorky eh?) pouring over the San Jose Mercury and the SF Chronicle as a kid and loving every moment of it. We all had our favorite sections!

I did the same thing - tried to make homemade newspapers with a typewriter - I thought it was cool :)

I mostly read online I have to admit. CNN.com, BBC.com, stuff from MSN.com and a couple of local newspapers from places I have lived. We do occasionally buy the local newspaper but not very often and we have subscribed to it here and there but with kids there is little time to really enjoy it. Finally, at work, we get the newspaper there so I guess I do read it in print from time to time. It is sad to see the quality of most of the biggies getting bad.

Posted by: Christina at April 8, 2009 9:50 AM

We subscribe to our state newspaper and have for years. We just were notified that the Saturday edition will be eliminated next month. As long as they leave the Sunday edition alone, I'm okay. I just love Sundays, when you sit with the coffee and paper and get lost in the newsprint!

Posted by: Maribeth at April 8, 2009 9:56 AM

At one point, I considered print journalism as a fall-back career. If not for a major publication, at least as a freelance, but that isn't a very viable option at this point. I'm sad about the downfall of newspapers. I don't subscribe because I don't have the room in my budget but I enjoy having hard copy in front of me (as with magazines and books). There is so much tangible history in newspapers. Something big happens and people buy newspapers to have that piece of history (I am the proud owner of newspapers from Oklahoma State's sound 52-7 whipping of Texas in the late '90s [special edition!], a tornado outbreak that nearly wiped out my hometown, Final Four ventures, and as of yesterday, the national champion Tarheels :D). I'm sad to see all these papers go.

Posted by: Sparkle Pants at April 8, 2009 9:59 AM

We subscribe to our local paper. We have two, but we get the one that is not a rag. Or rather less of a rag.

I work in an area that gets a lot of press, and have found that *every* story printed where I have the inside scoop, has blatant errors. Some are complicated & difficult to nail and some are just lazy journalism. Sometimes it's spin, but usually it's just one of the first two. For this reason, I view *everything* they present as "probably close to the story". Web-based or paper, I don't think that will change.

I like a big sheet of paper to wrestle with in bed on a Sunday morning (not a euphemism), and I don't like reading the paper on the web. They don't seem to lay it out in a way that you can take a general scan. I will have to evolve. I hope they do.

Posted by: harmzie at April 8, 2009 10:01 AM

I think the death of the newspaper is both sad and inevitable. Right now I get my news online except for the Sunday paper, which I mainly get for the coupons.

My late father was a newspaper man and I wish I'd come along at an earlier time so I could follow in his footsteps. I quit grad school because I could see that an MJ in print journalism was going to get me absolutely nowhere, especially in Philadelphia.

Posted by: Fraulein N at April 8, 2009 10:03 AM

I subscribe to the Denver Post. The prices have gone up considerably the past few years and this is likely our last year getting the paper.

I read the paper daily and like having it in my hands despite the fact that I almost daily read the NY Times and LA Times online along with occasional others.

I feel it is a combination of things that are killing newspapers. What is and isn't news has changed as have the dynamics of who is reading and why.

So many newspapers are available online without having to pay a dime to read them. It makes sense to me that subscriptions are declining as far too many people rarely read the paper anyway. Your paying more to keep your subscription because too many others are dropping theirs.

It will likely get much worse and I feel part of that is sad, but part of it seems natural as they didn't keep up.

Posted by: One Mom's Opinion at April 8, 2009 10:04 AM

I used to get the SF Chronicle when I lived in the city, mostly for my two favorite columnists (who aren't with us anymore). When I first moved here, I subscribed to the Sun-Star (McClatchy) but delivery was lousy and it was twice the price of the Chronicle for not much of a paper unless you were a native. I still read them on-line along with the NYT, the WaPo, and Chicago Sun-Times (mostly for the editorials in each).

Most of my other news comes from MSNBC and online journals like Huffington, Alternet, Media Matters, etc. All the sites the right wing loves to hate.

Posted by: Ann Adams at April 8, 2009 10:44 AM

It is sad about the newspapers...how are people going to train their puppies or what are they going to use to lay down on their hardwood floors when they are painting.

Posted by: William at April 8, 2009 11:15 AM

No paper here. I think we are the typical family in that so much news is forced on us that we have no desire to subscribe to more. Also, we don't have time to read when the kids are around, and can't pick up a newspaper while we're working.

I feel extremely informed and I'm not a big "news reader" online either. Media has changed.

That being said, I too, will miss the GOOD writing of journalists. Sometimes a reporter (even one I like) will say something that makes me say "oh, bullshit, you didn't ask everyone!" outloud. I yearn for good writing and good reporting. One avenue of that is dying.

Posted by: Brad at April 8, 2009 11:22 AM

I get the NY Times weekend stuff delivered (Friday, Saturday, and Sunday) and wanted to look into see whether the Washington Post would be willing to do the same for cheap. I love reading hard-copy newspapers, especially on Sundays. I'm pretty uninterested in spending any more time in front of a computer screen than I have to, so I'd rather earn my news by holding up a paper and reading it.

Posted by: You can call me, 'Sir' at April 8, 2009 11:24 AM

my entire childhood, my dad was the editor for a tiny once-weekly newspaper for a small town on the oregon coast. i grew up loving newspapers, respecting them. respecting correct grammar, punctuation and spelling (even though i am not the best at any of those). reading u&lc magazine front to back and imagining that i was a font developer. newspapers put the food on the table for my family week after week.
when i was in college, i had a work-study job that sometimes involved carefully shelving the hundreds of world newspapers that the uofo knight library subscribed to.
later, my husband and i would get coffee together on weekend mornings and read the paper as a favorite "luxury".

i am deeply sad to see them die.

that being said, i myself don't subscribe to any newspapers. i don't find that i have the time to read enough sections of them to warrant it. even recycling them feels wasteful when i do get them. i have white couches that i would have to guard from ink-covered newsprint constantly. and every civilization has things that come and go, no matter how loved, and it just kind of feels like the Times are changing, if you know what i mean...

Posted by: kati at April 8, 2009 11:26 AM

ps. i like what william said :)

Posted by: kati at April 8, 2009 11:28 AM

We subscribed to the Sacramento Bee for the entire 20 years that we have lived here, two months ago we canceled it. We had stopped reading it. I get my news mostly online and a bit from TV. And reading the newspaper was like reading yesterday's news. Frankly, I thought I would miss it more than I do.

Posted by: Leeri at April 8, 2009 11:29 AM

Our household subscribes to two papers. I pay for the L.A. Times and my husband pays for the Ventura County Star, which I think is a terrible rag. I don't read either of them because I don't have time but my husband reads both because he does have time. He's a consultant, so you know.

The demise of the S.F. Chronicle depresses me mightily because I have been trying to wrangle a sub to that paper for ages (seeing as how I live in L.A., it's challenging). I'm getting a Kindle for Christmas, and I could then get a Kindle sub, but my beloved Chron may be long gone by then. I am hoping someone will prop it up or maybe they could just have an online/Kindle edition, but I don't know anything about the business, so maybe it's not possible.

I worked on my paper in high school. I was a columnist and I still have all those old issues of the esteemed Woodside World. Alas.

Posted by: Brooke Habecker at April 8, 2009 12:16 PM

I worked at a newspaper ... so yeah, it's sad.

But at the same time, having worked in the business, I can say I'm not surprised and I'm somewhat amused that the rich white guys in charge of newspapers have managed to run them into the ground.

It's an example of greed and the bottom line being king. It also speaks to the "age" of the industry. The internet has been around for DECADES and no one in the industry has quite figured out how to make money from it and do it right.

That's inexcusable. It shows the lack of foresight and initiative that is endemic in the industry.

Journalism needs to survive. But journalism doesn't need newspapers to survive.

And to the question ... even when I was a reporter I wasn't a subscriber. I subscribe to the Sunday edition of the Chicago Tribune and that's it.

Posted by: jase at April 8, 2009 1:03 PM

It does make me sad, I have had a soft spot for newspapers since I was able to read. I don't subscribe anymore for the facts that you listed. Mostly the fact that features are the first to go when the money dries up.
I think if newspapers were to take a more modern approach to it all they might be able to survive. Sure they all have websites but they need to come up with a usable subscription model to make it work for them.
Last time I checked our local paper was still doing well, they have adopted a method to make people want to subscribe to the paper so that they can receive the extras off their web site that are for paper subscribers only. Not sure why, but it seems to work for them.

Posted by: Jeff A at April 8, 2009 1:28 PM

I absolutely love the image of a young Chris typing up his own news stories.

I'm struggling with the same problem with the Post. I've hung on for a long time now, even as I've grown less and less happy with the depth of their coverage. Then they combined Style and Arts into one section. I was really sad to see the Sunday Source go -- it was fun and informative and useful -- and lately the Travel section has been looking skimpy to me. The end of the Book World may be the last straw for me. It was pretty much my favorite section of the paper on Sunday.

It is tough though, because I think newspapers have an important role to play in our society and I don't like the idea of them only existing online. Look at how everyone ran out to buy a paper the day after the election. You couldn't get a copy of the Post or the NYT anywhere in this town!

Posted by: bad penguin at April 8, 2009 1:37 PM

We get the Sunday WaPo, but my favorite sections were Book World, Sunday Source and Style and Arts, so I'm pretty sad. Hubby gets the paper primarily for the coupons, but I like reading the opinion and metro sections as well... the A section-- only readable when I have a stiff drink and am feeling resolute enough to face the national and international news in print. And in the winter, we need that paper after we read it-- otherwise how will we light the fires in our wood-burning stove??

Posted by: morninglightmama at April 8, 2009 1:56 PM

We subscribe to our local excuse for a newspaper--their world news coverage doesn't fill up a re-cap section of stories in a normal paper. They used to list the obituaries on the front page side bar but decided that people weren't buying the paper unless someone they knew had died (this is a really small town) so they don't do that anymore. To give you an idea of just how pitiful our paper has gotten--today's issue is all of 8 pages, and that is including the comics page and a full-page ad!

Needless to say, my husband and I buy the Columbus Dispatch every day. Though it's a toss up if it's for keeping up with current events or to be able to do the crossword puzzle...

Posted by: Liz at April 8, 2009 2:34 PM

to be perfectly honest with you, I don't subscribe to paper editions of newspapers. But the New York Times is my internet homepage, and I go to emol.com daily, which is the newspaper from Chile (Mercurio) so I figure if it's not in the NYT or in Emol, then it's not important enough. Oh, and I also frequent people.com

Posted by: La Petite Belle at April 8, 2009 3:08 PM

For years our newspaper, The StarTelegram, has sat the end of our driveway, we leave, come back and still the newspaper sat like a statue. When it did make it into the house - it just sat - until we threw it away or the kitty had it strung out all over the place. I finally reduced our service to Sunday only just for the Target ad and coupons.

Sadly, I do believe the days of newspapers and their deliveries are short.

Posted by: steff at April 8, 2009 3:36 PM

I was a journalist for 22 years, but I left because I believe newspapers are going the way of the typewriter and milkman. The business model just doesn't work anymore - they're too slow and consume too much of our natural resources in both production and delivery. The good news is that good journalism can be done on any media platform - radio, TV, online - or whatever comes next. The real question is: Are there enough Americans who value solid, nuanced journalism to make it a viable product? Or do most people just want the crime recaps, gossip and screaming matches that pass for journalism at most media outlets these days? Judging by my last few years in the newspaper business, my bet is on the latter. They say people get the government they deserve - the same holds true for media.

Posted by: Karla at April 8, 2009 3:58 PM

I hate to say it but I'm part of the problem. I don't like reading an actual paper and I can get the news I want faster and easier and for free online. It's kind of a sad fate for newspapers, but I think it was inevitable.

Posted by: donna at April 8, 2009 4:02 PM

I am not a subscriber of the news paper. I do buy the Sunday paper now, but I only do that to get the coupons out and I throw the paper away. News is depressing no matter what form it comes in I always cry. I cant even watch the news on the television because I will cry. My boyfriend asked that I stop watching the news about four years ago because he got tired of coming home to a sad pile of tears contemplating the wrongs of the world.

Posted by: Kelly M. at April 8, 2009 4:21 PM

We cancelled all our newspaper subscriptions about a year ago. We used to get four:
The Globe and Mail
The Ottawa Citizen
The Ottawa Sun
and Le Droit

The Man and I are both former hacks. I think we kept them out of guilt but they were going from the step to the recycle been unread. And well, it was a lot of trees, and a lot of cash we could use on other things.

I have whole post brewing on media and its evolution but I do think the old boys club that runs the newspaper industry was resistant change to the news that the internet was coming and was going to change everything. (Heck the Ottawa Sun got an RSS feed a few months ago.) Having seen the folks at Canwest, I think there was a bit of arrogance in the newsroom that people would never want their news from their computers. (Heck they survived the invention of TV.) Not to say it's not sad... it is. But not unpredictable.

I think this guy is probably on the right track:


Posted by: Nat at April 8, 2009 4:53 PM

Before I went to college, I read the Boston Globe and the local paper every day. One was delivered, and the other, my dad brought home at dinner.

Now I think it's a total waste of paper. I read the New York Times online every day, and other papers from around the country and the world as I feel like it. The access to information is wonderful. I do worry that online reporting is much less reliable, and less discriminating people are getting bad information, but to me the answer isn't traditional printed news. No reason to hang on to that.

Posted by: Laura at April 8, 2009 5:03 PM

I always assumed that I would subscribe to the newspaper when I grew up. I have a mortgage, 2 degrees and a full-time job. I guess I made it. I am not getting a newspaper subscription. Do I find it sad that newspapers are dying? Certainly. But I don't want a subscription.

Posted by: Heather at April 8, 2009 5:57 PM

I love to read the newspaper, I'm a very tactile person so I do love it. However, the news isn't relevant by the time they get it out, I've already read it on CNN.com by the time the newspaper prints it, they need to get better at putting it out and maybe it wouldn't be a dying industry. The Sunday paper is my favorite.

Posted by: Dee at April 8, 2009 8:22 PM

When the internet showed up I think the FIRST thing newspapers should have done was move all the good stuff online - charged subscriptions there and delivered the "paper" for free. The current situation would be blip on the radar to them.

Short version - I will miss the paper some, but they had plenty of warning.

Growing up I was more of novelist than a journalist so my typewriter (a Brother model that was more like a printer than an actual typwriter) churned out lots of stories but not much news. This also explains why my career with my college newspaper lasted about 8 weeks... 4 weeks longer than it should have because my editor was kinda hot and I was trying to impress her...

Posted by: Scott at April 8, 2009 11:47 PM

I think it is sad. I love to read the paper. There is just something about turnting the pages and reading the articles and ads. I'm not a fan of reading it online, I find I don't get all the information that way.

Posted by: Adi at April 9, 2009 12:47 AM

We are now subscribers to the Denver Post since they were 'kind' enough to pick up all the Rocky Mountain News subscribers when it closed shop. I'm not sure we will renew. All the things you mention losing in the Washington Post, are gone from the Denver Post and I'm not sure I care enough to continue it. Hubby tries to read it daily as do I but I can get the same news stories online and not have to deal with recycling the paper.

Posted by: Earthami at April 9, 2009 9:54 AM

I canceled my subscription to the Post a few years ago and despite the fact that I really want to support the printed paper form. I just couldn't be down with the fact that in order to actually GET the paper I subscribed to, I had to call the circulation office every day to say, "Dude, where's my paper?" I can't help but think that papers are suffering from a consequence of their own poor management practices in many cases. Sure they have decreased ad revenue from lowered circulation, but they also have increased ad revenue from websites... it seems like a smart business would find a way to make this work for them. But maybe I'm just mad because they never delivered my paper.

Posted by: NG at April 9, 2009 10:03 AM

I'm a faithful Los Angeles Times subscriber and reader, even though the quality and amount of content keeps getting crappier and crappier, and the delivery person can't throw worth beans.

I can't stand reading the stuff online. I love the feeling of holding the folded paper in my hands, and can read it at the doctor's office, on an airplane or any other place I damn well please.

The age of newspapers will come to an end--not because the internet does a better job of keeping us well informed, but because we're getting much more stupid.

Also, I used to type out a little newspaper on my mom's typewriter, too. It had mostly sports news since I didn't have the budget for a Washington, D.C. bureau. Later, I also worked on my high school newspaper.

Posted by: Gramps at April 9, 2009 3:52 PM

I subscribe to the LA Times everyday. And, I read it everyday. Much to the chagrin of my husband and kids who would rather not have me reading. I love scanning the pages to see what is going on. I never feel like I get the whole picture of the day if I read the news online. And, you miss the great slice of life stories by the columnists.

Posted by: Julie at April 9, 2009 11:38 PM

We subscribe to the daily Cleveland Plain Dealer. I agree that the quality of some of the sections/features seem to be declining. In more recent years, although I usually thumb quickly through the daily paper, I tend to get my news online (from a local news station's website, which happens to be pretty damn good), because by the time I read the paper, the news is OLD. In today's day and age, the newspaper is going the way of 8-track tapes, corded phones, telephone books, and writing letters by hand.

I keep subscribing to the daily newspaper mainly because I've always had a paper available to me ever since I learned how to read. I also love to read the comics and do the puzzles. I don't rely on it for my main news intake, but I do find little tidbit stories that are interesting that I don't get from my online source.

However, due to declining subscribership, etc., my newspaper rates keep going up, and it's getting to the point where I'm contemplating giving up my daily puzzles (and thus, the paper)... which says something. I think the entire death of the industry is sad, because it's been a part of my life for as long as I've been alive, and well, death is just sad. (Yet, I'm not nearly as torn up about the death of 8-track tapes or the VCR.)

I'd say it's about time that newspapers fade gently into the distance, but I know that there is still a large number of people who do read and rely on a daily newspaper. My dad is not the most Internet savvy person, and although he does get on the 'net, he does not have the patience to sit at the computer and read the news that way. He prefers to read his newspaper AND watch the news on TV. My mom, on the other hand, is content to read her news on the Internet, but loves the paper for the puzzles. So, I guess until Gen X, Y, and Z become the "old folks," the papers had better stick around...

Posted by: ironic1 at April 10, 2009 7:45 PM