I give up.
I’m a lifelong lover of newspapers, but after a battle that’s lasted nearly a decade, I’m finally waving the white flag of surrender and bowing down to the almighty digital media.
Two events tells the story.
Event #1: August 2004, I arrive in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan (aka southern Canada) and discover to my dismay that morning newspapers don’t arrive here until 11 am. Eleven am!! That’s not morning, that’s almost lunchtime. How can you possibly enjoy your morning cup of coffee without your newspaper? How can you replace the tactile joy of the newspaper, the turning of pages, the wrinkling of pages, the distinct aroma of newsprint, the smudge of newsprint, the giant ads that don’t even draw a second look?
I suffered newspaper withdrawal symptoms for years.
Event #2: October 2012, I vacation in South Carolina and one morning, discover a USA Today lying just outside my motel room door. In years past, my heart would have skipped a beat, I would have swept up the newspaper with glee, joyfully poured a cup of steaming coffee, and then sat down to enjoy my daily, hard-copy fix of news, sports, business and entertainment. Hallelujah, life was good!
But no. On this fateful morning, I picked up the crisp USA Today, bold with print and bright with color, and said to myself, “This feels good, it looks good, but this is old news. It’s at least eight hours old. I just got the newest news on my iPad. Why would I want to read the old, dated news?”
So that was my epiphany. Newspapers are quaint, charming artifacts, kind of like the horse-and-buggy, but they’ve outlived their time.
Oh, they’ll be around for awhile but there are fewer of them, they’re getting physically smaller, and fewer people are reading them. True believers insist the big, national newspapers will survive, or the tiny, community newspapers will thrive, or….Give it up. Wave the white flag of surrender. Hold the presses. Park the delivery trucks. Stop chopping down the trees.
I’m not sure whether that’s bad or good. It just is. And cheer up; we all still love horses and buggies, right? We just don’t use them.