What’s better for breaking news? Twitter or the paper?

Episode Of 'Father Knows Best'

I write for a large-market newspaper and when the freelance Gods smile down on me, a few other regional and national news organizations. The other day I posted a FB request asking for copies of what at the time, was yesterday’s issue (sometimes I like to send articles to my mom like she’s always done with me in the past … you know, about something mind-blowing that she simply must learn about, especially if I’m the one who wrote the article). Anyhoo, you know how many copies I was able to finagle from my neighbors and other local yokels … ZERO.

I got a lot of responses like, “sorry don’t get the paper anymore” and “only get it on Sundays” and my favorite that really made me feel like what I do matters, “who reads the paper anymore?” EGADS!

So who does read the paper these days? Do the hours I spend researching, quoting, searching out perfect synonyms so I don’t repeat the same word over and over again … do those hours matter? To anyone? Or have we become a nation addicted to the instant news feed of Twitter and the likes. (sigh)

For me, like a tangible book, there is something extraordinary about holding actual newsprint in my hands … the way it smells, the way it sounds when unfolded, the way it tastes when you lick your fingertip to help turn the pages … still, I get it. It’s wasteful to print so much paper — and it’s certainly more convenient to whip out the iPad and presto … The Times, The Tribune, The Chronicle, the whatever you subscribe to is there, freshly pressed dare I say.

But I like the paper. I like the formality of it. The tradition. And for some reason or another the news just seems more real when I hold it in my hand … I feel the stories more … because the paper sits on my coffee table … with faces staring at me, reminding me all the day through, of the struggles and triumphs, sadness and joy that people, just like me, are living with. And that, ladies and gentlemen, that is why I look forward to that “slam” against my front door at the wee hours of the morning … (well, technically the carrier just puts it in the paper slot, but a girl can still dream of the days when Father Knew Best).

Do you read the paper? How many? Online? In print? I’m curious … Today’s post inspired by The Daily One-word Prompt: Newspaper.

23 comments

  1. I read the newspaper everyday. I find there is much more to it than just sitting down Infront of the computer or turning on the TV to catch the news. I actually care about stuff only the paper reports on like say what happened in SD yesterday. Being a transplant to the East coast from the West coast I do sometimes have to go online to catch what may have happened in sports after my area paper went to print.

  2. I still read the newspaper from time to time. I’m pursuing a Journalism degree and I often wondered about the future of print journalism. With mobile devices, blogs, and content sources online, people can get any kind of news they want from anywhere, free of charge.

    But I’m a firm believer that today’s best journalism and news comes from print newspapers. I give you the credit because you deserve it. Hours of research, writing, and publishing credible journalism takes hard work. It’s much appreciated.

  3. For me there’s no contest – the print version wins hands down! Here in the UK we have a paper called the i – which is a scaled-down version of the Independent priced at 20p. All the facts without the waffle. I too, love the smell of newsprint and in the days before nanny-health-freaks existed our fish and chips came wrapped in yesterday’s newspapers. These days it’s sterile unprinted paper.

    • My father was from Scotland – he used to line our plates wiht newspaper when we ate fish and chips – or corndogs or anything like that … I had forgotten :)

  4. As someone who works in television news… I’m sorry. As someone who reads the news on his phone… also sorry.

    However, I’m not ready to abandon traditional newspapers yet. I’ve kept several as what you might call collector’s items. I have the Washington Post and Washington Times from the day after 9/11 and the day of President Obama’s first inauguration. These things are pieces of history in a way that no computer file will ever be.

    • That is a very good point – I remember my social studies teachers room … with old newsprint all over the walls. I do read headlines on the computer – esp when when the business editor wants me to follow an AP story … but alas, I find I can get to preoccupied with other topics when I read news online … easy to keep Googling the offhand topics – if that makes sense?

      • Oh it does. I fall for it too. You start off reading about the debt ceiling, then somehow you find yourself studying the history of sandals or the latest trends in yodeling.

  5. I completely agree with you that there is something about the physical copy of newspaper that cannot be mimicked by any e-reader. With that said, I think this unique feeling can be extended to any form of “ink on paper” media, whether it be a textbook, graphic novel, or even the latest bestseller. In fact, I would highly suggest that you check out the book “The Shallows” by Nicholas Carr. This fantastic piece of writing goes in depth into the intellectual and cultural consequences of the Internet, which I think are more relevant then ever, since electronic texts are rapidly replacing their physical counterparts.

  6. Been reading the local paper ever since I was a little kid when I discovered the comics page. Can’t be beat for finding out what is happening locally.

    • Wowsa – I recognize that name :) Funny thing is I used to read the comics – always been a Peanuts fan – but now that it’s been replaced by others I won’t name I never even look at it anymore – in fact, I wonder if it’s even in our paper??

    • I think I might have replied to you when I intended it to go to someone else – about the debit card and all … still, I know, i know … its time to put the print edition in the time capsule.

  7. Egads! The news paper, I have heard tell of this before. Is it the product our forefathers gathered round to learn of the prior days happenings. How frustrating it must have been to wait. I have heard that some eccentric folks still partake. How strange it must be to read the “current events” knowing that you have seen the same events roll on your homepage twelve or so hours earlier. Writing this is making me nostalgic for books. Tonight I vow to put down my kindle and dust off a book.

    • OMG – you are too funny … but yes, my husband still reads the paper everyday and still writes checks at the grocery store when he has a perfectly good debit card filed away in his wallet!

  8. I love to read the paper! Do it everyday with my breakfast or save sections for later if I don’t have time in the morning. Even my non-reader husband now reads the newspaper. We recycle everything that can be recycled and try to be green as much as possible, so I don’t worry about the ‘waste’ from the paper. I like my books ‘real’ too, so I can hold them in my hands; don’t want to read my books on a plastic gadget. Guess I am just a traditionalist in that respect. I think the only time I read the news on-line is for the ‘just breaking’ events.

  9. I still read the NY Times online, only because I’m a liberal elitist East Coast snob living in the South, and the local newspaper here – circulation 1 million – is really awful.

  10. Yes, I read the paper daily, supplemented with information from various magazines, The Economist, The New Yorker, Bloomberg Businessweek, The Atlantic, Harpers, Orion, Mother Earth… and others. Since the evening news usually consists of seven minutes, if you’re lucky, of “news”, indepth information is best presented in the written word. And yes, articles can be found on the internet…..but what would you rather have, a hand written card from someone you cared about or a sterile email? Who hasn’t kept the newspaper front pages of major events….or a magazine devoted to a much loved individual or an incredible idea or story….. For me, I like the paper…..I can read without being interrupted by a commercial for Viagra or the like.

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