I Miss My Paper, Boy!

Well, it's been a few months now and I can officially report it.

I read newspapers, not facsimiles thereof.

I'm a Detroit Free Press subscriber, which means, thanks to cost-cutting moves by the two dailies in town, that I get a real-life newspaper delivered to my home on Thursdays, Fridays, and Sundays. After that I'm on my own.

Well, not entirely. I can "read" the newspaper online. It's an option I haven't exercised too often.

It's not news anymore, as the Monday thru Sunday delivery of the paper hasn't occurred in over three months now, but it's time to chime in. The "virtual" newspaper has left me, basically, reading the paper on Thursdays, Fridays, and Sundays. Only.

Oh, I've tried the online version. At first, I thought it was a pretty cool novelty. The "paper" does, indeed, look just like a real newspaper. Articles are pretty easily clicked on and viewed -- either with or without the photos and graphics.

As I perused the online "newspaper" in those early days, back in early April, I had much the same sensation as I did back in my college days, when I would traipse to the library at EMU and look at microfilm of archived editions of the Freep and the Detroit News.

The look and feel was the same, to me. Zooming in and out of stories. Panning to the left and right. Reading the newspaper font on a glowing monitor before me. I used to spend hours doing that, while researching papers and the like.

Today? Not so much.

I find that I don't even bother with the online version on Saturdays, Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays. Hardly ever, anymore.

I work largely from home, which means I spend countless hours in front of a CRT and tapping on a keyboard, sometimes furiously. Like now.

It's just not the same...

But it just never occurs to me -- or at least, rarely does it -- to visit the Freep's online version. I mean, I'm probably not getting my money's worth. Let's put it that way.

But when a "hard copy" of the paper arrives on my doorstep, I make time to read it. Go figure.

I guess I just like the "feel" of reading a newspaper -- with my hands, before me, or while I eat (Lord, how I love to read while I eat).

I'm probably a bit of an anomaly. Most folks my age (45) and below likely don't miss a real newspaper as much as I do. They get into all that digital age stuff. And I do, too, to a degree.

But I'm an old soul, always have been. I tend to take the attitude of those 15, 20 years my senior in matters such as technology replacing newsprint.

I just can't get into it. Doesn't hold my interest very long, the digital newspaper.

Yesterday was an example.

I visited the website, "opened" my paper, and "turned" to a story in the sports section. But then I stopped and told myself I'd read it later.

So there the opened tab stayed on my browser, unread. All day, and night.

Finally, I clicked on the "x" and closed the tab -- the sports story never read.

Had a real paper been at my disposal, it would have been unheard of for me to discard it without reading it. Unheard of.

The digital newspaper has turned me into a part-time reader now, and I don't like it.

I know there's tons of information on the Net. Tons of it. But I like my paper for local news, mainly. I feel disconnected now. Which isn't good, when this blog partially relies on me being "up" on the news of the day.

Just gives me all the more reason to write about stuff of yesteryear, which gives me more pleasure anyway, truth be told.

Still, this part-time newspaper reading thing bothers me. I doubt I'm alone -- even if those with me are in their 50s, 60s, and 70s.

Doesn't do any good to bitch about it; the change is irreversible, I would imagine.

All I know is, you'll never see a pristine, untouched newspaper in this house. The fact that you can now only see them here on Thursdays, Fridays, and Sundays is only good in one sense.

It's less newspapers I have to load into the recycling bin every week.



  1. I never thought I'd see the day where I am getting my news online. But that day is here. At 40, I always loved the paper- even the black fingertips that went with it- but it is a skeleton of its former self these days.


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