Tonight Show host Jimmy Fallon routinely does a bit where he writes “thank you notes” to people and things.  One that sticks in my mind from a few years ago was something along the lines of “thank you, newspaper on the doorstep, for letting me know an old person lives there.”

I laughed because I knew that I held that view as well.  Back when Harmony and I used to go for morning walks, I always noted which driveways had newspapers dropped in them….and had made the same assumption that a senior citizen lived there.

Why?  I knew that I had moved from reading a print newspaper to reading the news online. Most younger people had.

It is well documented the troubles that newspapers have had in recent years…..cities such as Denver who had had two papers for years had gone to only one.  In many towns, newspapers had disappeared all together.  Where there was still a paper, their size had shrunk to a shadow of their former self.

Classified ads had gone away due to people selling online via Craigslist or EBay.  Many of the ad inserts were gone.  Whole sections of the paper were reduced to a few pages combined with other sections.  Even if you read the printed paper, the reasons for reading it were disappearing.

For me, this raises the further question of “why still get the print copy?”

There is no doubt evolutionary forces that are moving us away from print journalism.  I know that I have felt them as I let go of my newspaper subscription.  Why pay for a newspaper when I can get content online for “free”?  Why wait for a printed paper when news is so fast and ever changing that by the time I get my paper, it is already out of date?

A Return to the Newspaper

However, other forces have brought me back to the newspaper.  In spite of the fact that one might think I’m old when the paper hits my driveway, so what?  Here are a few reasons I changed my mind:

  • There’s something special about the Sunday paper — I so enjoy a nice cup of coffee and turning the pages of the paper on a Sunday morning.  Brings back memories of my youth.  I can’t help it, I simply enjoy it so why not give in to it?
  • You don’t have to get it every day — I suspect most daily papers offer something similar to the Denver Post….I only get the Wednesday and Sunday papers.  Hence, I am not “wasting paper” (or at least as much).
  • Get access to online editions — The limited print subscription gives me the online facsimile everyday.  I enjoy reading the online editions….
  • Tapping into other papers — Don’t know if the editions in your town do the same, but the Denver Post gives me access to the Washington Post online.  Nice bonus.
  • Reading local news — My local paper covers stories that I may not pick up on by simply reading the Huffington Post and Google News.
  • The discovery of “other news” — as I scan the paper, I am introduced to news that I might not otherwise have been aware of because the “scan” process expands my awareness.
  • Supporting those who write the news…especially investigative journalism — Just getting news online for free doesn’t support the efforts of those who are following good journalistic practices and fact checking the news.

This last point is one worth stressing….yes, unfortunately there is “fake news”….but it’s not what Trump says it is.  He uses that term to describe anything that is not flattering to him.  The real fake news is the “opinions presented as fact” which often comes from slanted sources online and on TV.  Although these anti-journalistic sources can be from either end of the political spectrum, most ot the time they are far right wing slanted stuff, a process perfected by “Fox News”.  Supporting good local journalism is a good way to ensure that this “fourth estate” in American politics stays healthy.

Is it time for you to consider continuing your newspaper?

Mark Gilbert

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