Friday, April 24, 2009

For The Times They Are A Changin'

Stop  the presses!  The Internet has now become the main news source. A recent survey has found that 40% of its respondents prefer online sources to get their daily dose of news instead of the daily print. 


The end of print journalism will mean many things. For those of us old enough to still care about going out on a Sunday morning for our doorstop edition of The Times, it will mean the end of a certain kind of civilized ritual that has defined most of our lives.


More importantly, the use of those read rags and the roles they have played, how will we replace their function?  Recycling newspapers makes us feel good.  We become environmentally and economically righteous by doing so.  I can only assume we will have to make substitutions accordingly.


1. Lining the bottom of the bird cage – Instead of reciting the current headlines, Tweety will become well versed in computer applications.  No one ever reads those manuals. Right?


2. Cleaning windows – No, Bill Gates is not the go-to here.  A window cleaned with a newspaper gives a streak-free, lint-free shine.  I suppose we’ll just have to become use to that certain fog-type effect as we gaze out onto the garden only to realize the bright and sunny day when we walk out.


3. Gift wrap – Nothing quite says “Happy Birthday” like a gift cleverly wrapped from the Sunday comics.  It makes me shudder to even consider plastering Sponge Bob Square Pants or Dora the Explorer all over any gift.  Besides, who really recycles gift wrap?  It’s tacky. 


4. Packing material – You know your breakables are safe when they are wrapped in layers of newspaper. And, there are many uses for those papers after unpacking.  Sure it’s available in bright colors and, yes, it’s fun to pop, but have you actually ever lined kitty’s litter box with bubble wrap? 


5. Fly swatter – A folded newspaper has much more surface area, therefore, you have a much better shot at ridding your home of those annoying flying pests.  Later, roll that same newspaper into a fire log. No fuss, no muss compared to its plastic counterpart.


This is just a small sampling of how we will have to adjust our lives without newspapers.  But, I believe the absence of this source for news it is more about tradition and routine.  I, for one, have the memory of being taught to read and teaching my children to read from the daily comic strips.  Where will Nancy and Family Circus go? 

Leisurely perusing the newspaper over a cup of coffee for community news such as the high school scoreboards, the society page and upcoming events will become a thing of the past. Marriages, births and deaths may escape us.  However, the collapsing tradition of the daily newspaper is just one sign – for the times they are a-changin’.



Jerry K said...

As a former high school journalism advisor, the so-called death of newspapers is really sad. It's hard to recommend it as a career to students, that's for sure. I subscribe to two papers and I can't imagine not having them in the morning.

Winton Bates said...

I think people will still be talking about the death of newspapers for a long time yet. It would require massive changes in lifestyle to do without newspapers. For example, instead of reading the financial news from the paper over breakfast I would have to surf the internet to read the news while having breakfast. That would mean that I would have to learn how to use a mouse with my left hand!

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