Pan o Palo

The People Must Have Something Good To Read On Sunday
December 6, 2008, 9:31 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

Disclosure: I still subscribe to a daily newspaper.  I know that makes me a Dodo in the age of teh interwebs, but I thoroughly enjoy reading the newspaper (it’s content is definitely another matter).  The paper I pay money for would be the Star Tribune…my childhood paper (yes, I read it as a kid…even went to the finals in their sponsored state-wide news quiz contest a couple of times).   As easy as it is to turn on a computer, it’s easier to walk out your front door and pick up the news.  Not to get all orgasmic about it, but it’s a very comfortable, very relaxing way to find out what else is going on.  I’d say the same for radio, but the ads are more offensive on the senses than the ones in the newspaper are.

Anyways, I’ve never felt closer to see the demise of a once-admirable medium than I have this week, with news about the rapidly-dying Strib.  Not having a journalism or economics background, there’s not a lot that I can add to what others that are plugged in are saying.      Obviously, the folks at the Strib aren’t the only ones in the industry that are hurting.  But that’s not what I really wanted to write about, anyway.

The newspaper…the physical newspaper, is quite unique.  You don’t multi-task while your reading it (not to sound like a Plugger, or anything).  It tends to keep your attention.  It tends to distract you.  It tends to, at least, keep you vaguely informed of what’s going on.  It tends to isolate you and even make you feel smart for a moment.

Then there’s the content.  Well, you’ve got to be a skeptic in anything you read habitually.  I’m comfortable in doing that, and always have been.  Healthy does of independent thought never hurt those with little or no influence on greater society.  I know what I’m reading.  I know what kind of content I’m paying for.  And I’m willing to pay for said content to a point.

Newspapers aren’t dying because of the recession.  They’re dying because, well, because of laziness and apathy.  Oh, and ad revenue.  I’m sure that someone could buy the Rocky Mountain News for a song tomorrow.  I’m even more sure that someone won’t.  It’s dismaying to think that, until buses are hooked up with wi-fi, I won’t have something to read on my commute to work everyday.  And I’m not crossing my fingers that the Socialist Workers Party is gonna leaflet the hell out of every bus route in the Twin Cities.

On laziness: why take time to read?  To verify?  To make sure what’s in print is what you’re seeing online?

On apathy: why garner an inkling of independent thought?  I don’t expect that fantasy-addled Garage Logicians that pray at the altar of Soucheray and Kirsten to seek information outside of their purview.  Nor do I expect that those that swear by all things internet to think that there are still those that are suspicious of too much information.

Like all things, there has to be a balance.  And I’m not equating balance with centrism.  I’m talking about access.  I’m talking about comfort.  I’m not comfortable with getting all of my news from one source or medium.

After writing this, I feel like I should buy a tobacco pipe, a new pair of slippers, and go to an antique store to find some old 400-pound tube radio kind of bit.  Yeah, I know it’s not 1939…


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