Goodbye, Print

The Christian Science Monitor announced yesterday that it will abandon its daily print edition to offer daily coverage only online (Christian Science Monitor to exit daily print business). It is the first national newspaper to do so. This news comes a few days after the Boston Globe’s latest restyling, which simplified the layout and offloaded the fluff–entertainment, lifestyles, amusements, etc., all of which I read assiduously–to a daily magazine dubbed “g.”  (“g?” I would understand “e” because the restyled Globe features four sections.  Is it “g” as in “Gee, I wish more people bought the Globe?”, or “g” as in “the boston globe is now lower case and tomorrow will be even smaller?”)

Disappearing newspapers sadden me.  My parents met while working at The Hartford Courant (“Older than the Nation, New as the News”).  My father worked at the Courant for almost 50 years, save for his time in the Army Air Force in WWII.  I learned to read from newspapers. My first job was delivering the Courant.  I’ve subscribed to the Globe for my entire adult life and read it daily.  Newspapers are in my DNA.  Newspapers are symbols of community–there are Globe readers and there are Herald readers.  Few people read both.  Reading the Globe sports page–the best daily sports coverage in the U.S.–is an act of bonding, a celebration, a requiem.  Newspapers represent competing voices in local and national conversations.  Newspapers are pleasantly tactile, even if the ink stains one’s fingers.  Newspapers start the fire in the hearth and house-train puppies.

Newspaper websites can be outstanding.  I only read the Wall Street Journal online and the New York Times online every day but Sunday.  Each uses the medium to take news delivery beyond the dimensions of print on paper,  but try house-training a puppy with the your laptop and the NY Times website.

I understand the financial pressures that are driving newspapers into the electronic-only embrace, but we’re losing something in the process.

4 thoughts on “Goodbye, Print”

  1. I’m not sure if I share your sadness in the decline of print based mediums. But that’s probably because I was born into a generation of technology. I rarely, if ever, pick up a newspaper. I read everything online and if it happens to be on paper it’s because I printed it. Getting news online is a lot easier (for me at least). I can get the latest updates. Filter out everything I don’t want to read about. Search for whatever I want, whenever I want. Mostly, I rely on my RSS feeds to “feed” me the news but sometimes I’ll check out some specific sites for articles of interest. Aggregation is the way of the future (see http://www.newsvine.com highly recommended). But hey, who knows, Amazon’s Kindle is become a very popular eBook reader and eInk is becoming more and more viable. Maybe technology will “bring back” a newer, better, form of “print”.

  2. I would say I do not have any sadness. As a way of expressing news, newspaper now have no advantage over the Internet except the joy of tradition. The disappearance of newspaper is inevitable since the technology has progressed so much. We will adjust ourselves to the E-news sooner or later, especially for those people who were born in the newspaper era.

  3. When I was a kid, aside from being required to do current events summaries in elementary school, I never picked up a newspaper willingly. I didn’t have any interest in reading the newspaper until high school, and by then, the NYTimes print edition was just too expensive for me and it was available for free online. So I’ve never developed a love for the print editions of newspapers, but if eBooks were to replace books in the near future, I would be saddened. I like the tactility of books, as well as the old-book smell.

  4. I think its true that those people who see a newspaper as more than just a channel of communication are more affected by its decline. Every Sunday of my childhood I would wake up early and read the paper with my father. Though I never actually read the news ( I read The Peanuts and Garfield), the weekly tradition was more important to me than the actual paper. I would hate to think that in the upcoming years there might no longer be print based mediums.

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