Read A Newspaper Before They’re Gone

More and more newspapers are disappearing. Not enough young readers. Not enough middle-aged readers. Not enough advertisers. “We can read it on line,” I hear. And, “I’ve given up reading newspapers, they just overwhelm me with bad news.”



Would you give up going to the grocery store because cinnamon rolls make you fat? Didn’t think so.

Reading on the Web takes 25 percent longer than reading on the newspaper, so it’s not the time it takes to read a newspaper. It’s the depth of the news. We don’t want to know the details, we want the overview or the bottom line, the stuff in the middle is too hard to figure out.

Oddly enough, it is not too hard to figure out the complexity of celebrity coupling, uncoupling and sniping–in 2008, according to Yahoo, Britney Spears was the most searched name. Barack Obama came in second.

What about the bad news accusation? We can’t read the newspaper because off all the bad news? Why are we scooping up magazines that roll in bad celebrity news? Why are reality shows–the worst of the bad news–so popular? It’s not the bad news we fear. It’s the lack of control.

In the end, the Brangefer triangle is worse than our lives, and we can walk away from it, but we can’t walk away from rampant disease, political treachery, and endless, groundless wars. We are part of them. We voted, we didn’t vote. Either way, we had a hand in it. And we can’t control it all. We can’t even control some of it. So we don’t want to know about it.

Our need for control works when we over-schedule our own time, our kids time, our pet’s time. But we turn away from the news because we feel we have to fix this mess and don’t know where to start and don’t want it on our desks. Or worse, our conscience.

I’m in full agreement that if you are too plugged in to news, reading headlines, catching up on reports on your cell phone or PDA, a break is necessary. No would blame you for turning off the TV, radio, CD and DVD players and crawing into bed. A little rest is good for everyone.

The next day, however, it’s time to start thinking. Maybe you can’t solve the world’s problems, but not knowing is different from not wanting to know. Being informed keeps you from blaming yourself, but it helps you make better choices, better votes, and a better environment. And while you can’t solve the world problems, you can do tiny things with enthusiasm. They add up. If we all do it, we can save the world.

In this super-connected world, wouldn’t you pay to have the latest news brought to your doorstep, complete with interesting photos, summaries in the first paragraph, readers leaving comments, and gossip? It’s not out of your reach, a daily paper delivered is less than $5 a month in most cities. Before they become extinct, before you lose control, grab a newspaper. Read it. Do one thing.

Quinn McDonald is a writer and life coach. She reads newspapers at the kitchen table every morning, then reads a few more online.

6 thoughts on “Read A Newspaper Before They’re Gone

  1. San Francisco’s Chronicle is about to be shuttered. A similar fate is looming over the L.A. Times, my daily paper. A local newspaper, along with running water, and electricity — I grew up taking this for granted.

    I found this a few months ago and wrote about it in our blog:

    “In this version of a collaborative journals project, Someguy has a name: Tom. TOMs Book is a beautifully designed German site featuring 80 traveling journals. The theme is Newspapers — people’s emotions, reactions, thoughts, and opinions on what they find in the paper. Tom writes he had seven boxes filled with clippings which at some point in his life moved him and couldn’t be thrown away. And so TOMs Book was born, inspired by 1000 Journals, and a bet with a friend…”

    I wrote back and forth with Tom and his collaborators, and as it turned out, they are sponsored by a publishing industry group. This journals project is actually very successful and does help bring print media to a younger generation.

    If only our corporate media owners had more imagination. Spoiled by enormous profits, they cling to the old, and risk a huge part of culture and checks and balances.

    • I keep thinking that the loss of newspapers is not about young people not reading them, it’s about advertisers using the same old methods, and the decreasing revenue causing newspapers to cut quality, which is cutting their throats. I know the younger demographic reads, because Facebook depends on it, as does the entire Internet. My area is creativity, and every time I try to bring it to corporations, I see fear. They don’t need to be afraid of creativity, they need to fear lack of imagination and reinvention. –Q

  2. And a daily newspaper with Sunday delivery usually includes coupon sheets for routine grocery items. I’ve discovered that clipping coupons tends to pay for my newspaper subscription, even though I only use about ten percent of the coupons offered.
    My morning tea is rather boring without a newspaper and the daily fix of comics, editorial letters, and local news.

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