Breaking News
Sunday, July 17, 2011

We've blogged a lot about the challenges and changes in the publishing industry but this week I came to the sad realization that I am going to have to put a stop to an institution I have enjoyed since high school - the daily newspaper delivery. Call it another casualty of the digital age, but I have finally succumbed to grim reality: I don't read the newspaper like I used to...Not that I don't read the newspaper, I just don't physically turn the paper pages anymore.

Since moving to Australia I tried to hold on to the past joys of paper, I really did, but then events conspired to finally make me realize that, yes, even for this home delivery stalwart...the end was nigh.

It came in increments - first was the cling wrap they use to entomb the newspapers here (it requires a Ph.D and more patience than I own to unwrap), then it was the endless rain that still managed to make said entombed paper soggy as mush. Then it was the fact that the newspaper was never delivered until 7:30am, sometimes even 8am, which rendered it utterly useless (I had already read the news online, had breakfast and got the kids ready for school
by then). We also have one of the steepest, longest driveways in the world (see photo - mailbox it over the rise in the upper right hand corner!) - not something you want to trek up in the wee hours of the morning only to discover the newspaper hasn't come.

Finally there was the, I know many of my Melbournian friends will be in up in arms, but truly, the local newspapers here are pathetic. Filled with tawdry details of scandals involving local footballers and schoolgirls, it was hard to find any decent international news or any opinion that doesn't sound like it was written by an elementary school kid. We tried changing papers but to no avail. I had to accept the fact that I found Australian news boring.

And so the guillotine fell...

Of course the real reason for the demise of the physical newspaper in our house has been the rise of the digital newspaper equivalent. I subscribe to the New York Times on my iPad and its crossword (one of my obsessions). I can read all the local newspapers online as well as the San Francisco Chronicle (for what that's worth). I can even indulge my love of low-brow gossip by reading London's Daily Mail on the web. I also have apps on my iPad for the local ABC and SBS news services, the BBC, CNN, and PBS. Every morning I open the NPR app and listen to the hourly news. I follow that up by opening the BBC app and listening to the BBC world service. So, as you can see, the digital age we live in can cater for all my news-hungry ways!

So why would I keep having the newspaper delivered?Sadly, for many years I have been one of the last holdouts as newspaper circulation has dropped precipitously. Although I love sitting down and thumbing through a fresh newspaper every morning, even I have admitted defeat. Though I cannot forget that there was something visceral about the reading experience that I loved. Unlike reading a newspaper online, there was a sense of a slow, leisurely absorption of the news of the day, rather than the frenetic click and skim approach I now have to many news items. I loved how I used to stumble upon articles that I would have otherwise ignored. That doesn't happen nearly as often online.

So this week marks the end of an era for me. I just can't hang on to my newspaper anymore. What about you? Have you cast off the shackles of paper delivered news? Do you have any regrets? Any longings for the old days when you could sit down on a Sunday with a cup of coffee and take your time lifting and turning page after page?


Post a Comment