Why do people buy newspapers today? Simple. It’s because they like the feel of a newspaper, the leisurely way you can skip back and forth between different stories. It’s not at all the same as online reading. And so, it was a big disappointment when the Indianapolis Star announced that it’s owner, Gannett Company, will no longer send us the USA today section we’ve grown accustomed to. Help! Our newspaper is shrinking.
I realize that real, paper, newspapers have been losing money for years. The reason, of course, is the internet. As an example, classified ads used to bring in some money to help run the paper. But most people use Craigslist if they’re looking for an apartment or household services. It’s free to the seller and buyer alike!
We have had two newspapers delivered to our door for over 30 years. Our local paper for the obits, advertising, local events, city politics, and general gossip. For more in depth coverage of national news and broader interests, we’ve always loved the Indy Star. While on winter vacations in Texas, Ga., and Florida, we never found a metropolitan newspaper more to our liking, with its common sense reporting and intelligent editorials. And since my daughter lives in Indy —and doesn’t take the paper—I often know more about what’s going on in her city than she and her family do.
As retirees, one of our simple pleasures is having a morning cup of coffee while poring over the newspapers. My husband loves all the funnies, and has even converted me to a couple of them. We both enjoy the bridge columns. He likes the jumble.
Often, we spend the better part of an hour rattling the papers and discussing different news stories. Sometimes, one of us will miss a story until the other asks what we thought of it. We may pass the newspapers back and forth two or three times to make sure we’ve covered everything.
So now, our paper will be thinner, with the elimination of the USA today section. I hope this isn’t a portent of things to come, but I’m afraid it is. Reading the newspapers online is not the same experience, at all. You can’t absorb it in depth, or pass it back and forth. And if you have achy fingers or carpel tunnel, it can be painful reading long articles on your smartphone.
All we can hope is that our newspapers won’t leave this world until after we do.