I read a newspaper today.
With time to spare between dropping my daughter off at the Westminster Presbyterian Church for bible school (yes, liberals really do attend church just like regular Christians) and Walmart, I stopped off at the closest Port City Java and treated myself to breakfast. To pass the time I bought a copy of the Wilmington Star News.
I don’t remember what was on the front page. The only story I recall was about a couple trying to run a greyhound dog rescue operation out of their house but it got out of hand. You’ve heard the story before–sixty-odd dogs were found in the house, emaciated, covered with fleas, ticks and dried feces, all of them sick. The dogs were turned over to animal control, treated by vets then an official Greyhound rescue group began looking for homes. Five had to be euthanized.
I also read Annie’s Mailbox (the replacement for the late Ann Landers’ advice column) and the comics. My horoscope said it was a particularly lucky day for me, although I didn’t notice any good fortune. I looked through the want ads and I even perused the mediocre editorial page. Then I left it there for someone else and went shopping.
My husband and I don’t subscribe to any newspapers. We get Newsweek and Car & Driver, but no newspapers. Aside from the funnies and Annie’s Mailbox, there’s nothing in there I’d want to read every day. We usually don’t have the time to sit and read one all the way through. Like every other newspaper, the Star News has downsized itself so it seems like it was printed for a child. You can’t hide behind it like the old kind. And I just hate the way newspapers pile up. I always worry I’m going to end up like one of those old ladies found dead with ten foot piles of newsprint.
When I was growing up, my parents received both Cincinnati daily papers (The Enquirer and the Post & Times Star), the two weekly Clermont County papers and the Wall Street Journal. My father read them all and did the crossword puzzles. It was fairly common to subscribe to both papers. Something might happen during the day that you’d want to know about. People like my parents were still getting used to the idea of television and there was no such thing as a 24 hour news network.
In college, my room-mates and I subscribed to the Akron Beacon Journal and when I was a reporter for a Cincinnati suburban weekly, I got to read the daily papers every day at the office.
Somewhere along the way, I stopped reading newspapers. Not enough time, don’t have the money, worried about the disposal problem. (I always felt I should recycle them but I never got around to it). I get my news from Newsweek, National Public Radio, ABC News and lately CNN and the BBC.
According to USA Today, Newspaper circulation has gone way down since the 1980s. Like me, people now rely on television and the Internet to stay informed. Every major paper has its own website and they post every issue on line. But it’s not like sitting and reading the paper.
I suppose one of these days, newspapers will disappear completely. But I hope not. Because I really do enjoy sitting at Port City Java, sipping my coffee and reading the paper.