Monday, April 6, 2009
Please Don't Take Our Newspapers Away
Last week the Chicago Sun-Times joined its only major rival the Chicago Tribune in declaring bankruptcy. The Sun-Times spokesperson assured the public that the paper will continue but we all know nothing good will come of this for the devoted newspaper reader. The Tribune promised not to compromise its quality either and look what happened. Now, major news stories sit next to humor pieces and the text is dwarfed by photographs instead of the other way around. And not that the Sun-Times is the bastion of quality and originality. I have a friend who calls it the "AP" paper because it seems all the articles have been purchased from the Associated Press instead of written by Sun-Times journalists, who, presumably have been laid off. Whatever their faults though, I still love these papers.
A newspaper is one of the greatest inventions of mankind, right up there with the wheel, fire and Spanx. Think about it. A group of incredibly smart people observe events occurring around the globe, choose the most important and write it up in short articles for you every single day. There it is - the world - and it's literally on your doorstep every morning. How could anything be more convenient?
As for depth and breadth of coverage, both papers cover local, national and international news. Throw in sports, business, entertainment and my favorite - the Wednesday Food section in the Trib. This is where cooking meets commerce - the recipes are as important as the grocery and wine store ads.
Most importantly, it's the journalists in newspaper that do the investigative reporting, not AP reporters. Without our local investigative reporters in Chicago, none of our politicians would be indicted or presently serving out their jail sentences.
How much does this wonder of information and convenience cost? - the change in your pocket.
Some of my friends argue that we still get the news, only the format has changed. They like the internet better and remind me that in cyberspace, the news is reported as it happens, not the next morning. And for most publications, news is free on the internet. But did you ever try to read an entire newspaper on the computer??? Did you ever try to find a specific article or ad that you had previously seen in the paper??? Did you ever try to balance your laptop and your cup of coffee in your bed on Sunday morning???
Which brings me to the real point of why I love newspapers: it's the ritual of the thing. The stealth moves on the back porch so my neighbors won't see me in my pajamas as I search for the paper; the wafting aroma of the fresh pot of coffee perfectly synchronized with its removal from the plastic wrap; the quiet interrupted only by the sound of a page turning; the thousands of conversations with friends and family starting with the phrase "Did you read in the Trib today?...." Make your Dell do that.
So please help me save the newspapers. Renew your subscription, or better yet, meet me on the third floor of the library to peruse our collection of local, national and international papers. Here's a sampling of what we have:
The Chicago Reader
Des Plaines Journal
Wall Street Journal
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Investors Business Daily
New Russian Word
Los Angeles Times
Chicago Daily Law Bulletin
New York Times
New York Post
St. Louis Post-Dispatch