Sunday, February 08, 2009

Me and My Papers

Newspapers as we know them are dying. My friend over at Insomniactive has pulled a lot of info on this issue.

This has implications for all of us. Even those of you who, like the others on my hallway (see above) don't get newsprint versions, are relying on the reportage of newspapers even if you consume it online or secondhand. I guess. Unless you only read blogs for info. And just stupid ones like this instead of ones created by legitimate journalists who research things and know how to write. Not to denigrate reading blogs, but nothing beats guys and gals going out and getting stories for a living and bringing them back to us, coherent and thorough and allegedly without bias. (Although it helps to get several as we do, see above.) Reading blogs is a drill down into individual brains but newspaper reporters often bring us the more sweeping issues.

And yes, I know most of the content goes to the WEB for free, no trees involved.

The death of the clumps of paper with fresh news, pictures, charts and figures, delivered to our door is going to hurt me. Even though I'm drowning in papers and even though recycling is a pain and even though, yes, I can find it all on my computer I suppose.

The form isn't the same. Sitting over a meal with FFP (we almost always read at meals when it's just the two of us), or on the exercise bike, I turn the pages guided by the headlines. I pause at photos or maps. I even look at ads. The structure is predictable and comforting. Inside the front page section of The New York Times there is a summary of news (recently expanded to two pages for the age of ADD). There are also ads for luxury jewelry and watches and knick-knacks. Yes, still. On Tuesday there is Science Times. On Wednesday, Dining In Out. The Austin-American Statesman has XLent on Thursday. I skip Sports Sections, mostly, unless there is really big tennis news. I occasionally flip the Statesman Sports over to see if there is a Fry's ad. I look at Fry's ads in that paper and J&R and others in The Times mostly to see what gadgets are out there, what they are going for. I am tempted by the crosswords. So the leisure sections get pulled out. I like to read about plays, movies, books, dance, opera, etc, too. When I'm looking at a new section of newspaper I know it's fresh content. Well, sort of. If you read three newspapers then you may see the same story. It may even be exactly the same story.

FFP goes directly to the editorial and letters pages, I think. I don't usually read these. I would rather get opinion on blogs. We both peruse obituaries. The local ones to see if someone we know died. But all obits to see the fallen, how old they were and what got them. (In The New York Times obits the cause of death is usally paragraph two. After para one which tells you why the dead is newsworthy.) The obits in the local rag are mostly paid ads. Relatives pay hundreds or thousands to run some stuff for a few days. There are also short blurbs from funeral homes that are a 'public service' and, of course, news stories on the deaths of the locally famous or infamous.

There are so many predictable, wonderful things in my papers. Oh, they change things sometimes. I remember when the Times never used color. (I also remember when authors' names in The New Yorker were at the end of articles and they sometimes continued articles over multiple issues.)

Well, I have been trying to write this for two days. While newspapers piled up. And, shudder, we bought three books at Book People today and there two others I've been intending to start and...oh well. Enough of writing about newspapers. I'm going to go read.


jerry from dallas said...

I have often wondered if it is possible to go into shock when one is faced with a lot of or too much reading and just freezes up. Sometimes the books and magazines just pile up until I can tackle them, one chapter or one article at a time.
There is a lot of good reading out there, but sadly there appears to be limited time as one ages.

Annie in Austin said...

Our days start with the same papers- the Austin American Statesman and the New York Times, with sections divided up and sometimes swapped. The Tuesday Science Times is a gem.

I read the Austin obits, too, Linda - don't have to know the people to appreciate bits of Texas history, genealogy and sociology in the stories.

Annie at the Transplantable Rose