Extra, Extra!

The New York Times. August 20, 1968

The New York Times. August 20, 1968


(Image via The New York Times “Today in History”)

Imagine my shock.

There we were on The Outer Banks of North Carolina, beginning a week’s worth of fun and sun, nothing to stand in the way of a completely invented, self-contained escape from reality. We knew no one, didn’t expect phone calls, brought along “A Dance to the Music of Time” on DVD and a couple of books… . The 21st century, as we are coming to know it, would not intrude.

The house had high speed internet. Well, DSL anyway. Fine, I wouldn’t actually check email or the daily headlines. I determined to only read those blogs that I so enjoy, reveling in the chance to “take some time off” from my obsession over daily posting.

Morning dawned sweet and cool for August. I looked down at the driveway, following the hopping lope of a rabbit and saw…. a Sunday newspaper. “Hmm,” I thought. “That’s sort of nice.”

You see, I don’t fit the demographic of the newspaper reader. I am younger than 65, for example. I no longer work in any sort of important job or live in an important city. As I mentioned in a glancing blow above, I get my headlines via the New York Times online. (Odd, you would figure the Washington papers’ electronic editions would be more my cuppa… but they get awfully serious. When I worked for the government, I would read The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post — no Washington Times then, The New York Times and Jane’s Defence Weekly.) Papers today seem a waste of time.

But that Sunday “Virginia-Pilot” was right there with news of Michael Phelps’ incredible achievements, the fencing scores, the headlines and more. How nice of my landlords to have a Sunday paper delivered! I enjoyed a half hour’s respite on the deck with my paper as the sun rose and began to burn away the evening’s haze.

Monday morning there appeared another paper! And Tuesday’s edition was waiting the next day….

Reading the daily paper was a ritual that our parents shared with their parents. A free press is taken for granted by Americans. But we’re losing that connection to the paper — maybe it’s the ink that coats your fingers…. (I understand that having your gentleman’s gentleman iron the paper will set the ink.) The daily paper is fast becoming a relic of a slower time, one in which two editions a day covered “all the news fit to print.”

If you truly wish to embrace a more elegant lifestyle, I suggest finding time to peruse the newspaper. Reading the news whilst having your freshly brewed coffee each morning, just before you step out the door. Pull that off and you will have slowed time to a pre-internet pace. But, it won’t be easy.

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8 Responses to Extra, Extra!

  1. My maternal grandfather was a sports reporter for the Tulsa World. I can remember him reading the paper both morning and afternoon, discussing it with my grandmother as they went. You must, must read your local paper.

  2. fairfax says:

    My dad was a reporter/correspondent for the Baltimore Sun. We got the Sun, WashPost & NY Times every day!

    And YAY for Michael Phelps!

  3. Athenaeus says:

    It’s a true luxury to have time to read the newspaper. Unfortunately most days it’s reading the WSJ ornline. It’s particularly interesting when you’re on vacation to read about issues important to the local citizenry. The last big trip was to Buenos Aires and reading the Buenos Aires Herald was such an interesting way to experience the city as more than a tourist.

    Kudos on your choice of images, what’s happened in Georgia is more important than most people realize, even if it is a bit heavy for vacation reading.

  4. pve design says:

    We cancelled the NY Times which we enjoyed on the weekends only, however the weight of the paper up the hill and back down for recycling seemed to far outweigh the content. We do however enjoy the WSJ and then online, I pull bits that appeal from various other papers. We also have our local paper which connects us to the other towns.

  5. LucyinStLou says:

    We used to love our daily paper with breakfast, but, sadly, when the new delivery person began delivering later we had to give it up. Reading the paper in the evening is just not the same. Now I get my fix online. I must say, thanks to the digital age, I can keep up with many more newspapers now.

  6. Athenaeus, thanks. I don’t want to get too political, but having worked for the Federal Government during the waning days of The Cold War, the situation in Georgia looks all too familiar to me. Energy is the new currency of a new Cold War.

    Two descendants of reporters among you! Wow! How marvelous and how unusual in my experience. I have really only known one and am fascinated by how well-informed he is on a range of subjects. Truly a remarkable, and underpaid, profession.

    You have all convinced me to renew my subscription to our local paper — although the days of straight reporting seem behind us, it is good to know what is going on around me. For national and international news I’m still scanning the online headlines. In France, my weekly International Herald-Tribune and Montecristo #4 made for an enjoyable and very civilised Friday.

  7. LINDA BRAZILL says:

    I grew up reading an afternoon newspaper. One of my fondest memories as a teenager is reading the paper with my dad and discussing the news over the dinner table with my parents and sisters. I loved the serendipity of never knowing what I’d find when I opened a daily paper.

    For the last 30 years I’ve been living in a town with two competing daily newspapers and two college dailies and numerous weeklies. Life without newspapers is no kind of life, as far as most of my friends and I are concerned. But I’ve just been downsized out of my newspaper job this spring (along with 6,000 other folks nationwide)

    I love blogs and the Web but there is no accountability the way there is in the newspaper industry. We are no longer the same town without two dailies. In the long run, what’s happening in the newspaper industry is a crisis for democracy in this country.

  8. MC says:

    While visiting my folks in Tulsa several months ago, the op-ed page was filled with pros and cons on the Tulsa World’s new format. Their answer to everyone going online to get headlines and updates was to focus more on local/regional fare. Of course, they hit on major headlines, but the more in depth reporting had me learning about people and places I might not have considered otherwise.

    One subscriber lamented the change saying it made Tulsa look too simple and not in touch with the times for those looking in from other cities.

    I don’t know… I rather enjoy the alternative when I read the morning paper with my mom and dad during visits.

    And as for home. Well, I adore the morning paper read. The content might not always be riveting, but that morning time with my coffee and still sleeping babes makes a difference in my day. I’m a week behind in this ritual as I type & I can tell a difference in my demeanor. On that note, I best go fetch the paper from the sidewalk. Happy weekend…

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