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The Friday Morning Listen: Joe Jackson – Look Sharp!

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TheWife™ made the call, was put on hold, then finally made it through. She related her request and the answer came back, "May I ask why?"

Because we don't read it anymore. The newspaper, that is.

OK, let me clarify a few things. We were receiving two papers at the house, The Boston Globe and The Nashua Telegraph. We cancelled the latter because the subscription was for my parents, neither of whom are here to read it. Plus, we really had stopped reading the thing. Like a lot of local dailies in this age of "new media," cost-cutting measures have stripped away so much content that the paper seemed like nothing more than a long string of pieces from the AP.

This really depresses me, but for reasons mostly unrelated to my parents. It can be said that it's just nostalgia and I can't disagree: I grew up with newspapers. I've been reading one (or more) since I was in 7th grade. My first job was being a paper boy for the Hartford Courant (Sunday delivery was crazy…too many papers to carry so I loaded them in the back of the station wagon and my dad drove slowly down the street as I ran between the houses). I had a friend who delivered the Middletown Press, a cousin who delivered the Meriden Record (all of these are Connecticut papers). I don't have to think all that hard to bring back the smell of the delivery bag, stained black with ink, the "ca-chink" of the coin changer I wore on my belt. When another daily goes under — and cancelling this subscription makes me feel like we're taking part in that — it feels like a piece of my youth has vanished.

Yes, that's all nostalgia. But that's not the whole story. The rest of it has to do with my preferring printed matter over digital. I will always lean toward physical media when given a choice. Even when I stumble onto a particularly interesting article online, I will print it out before reading. Clicking through multiple pages just isn't comfortable for me. It's why I have no interest in any sort of eBook. Sure, I can see the advantages there, but there's not much attraction for me.

As for the paper, when I get up on Sunday morning, I like making coffee and reading through my favorite sections of the Globe (for those keeping score at home, that would be Ideas, Books , Arts & Entertainment, Travel, and Globe North). Yes, I know this information is available online, but sometimes a man needs a break from technology.

They say that the future is with digital media. Yep, I can see that. Heck, I'm a part of the digital media. But newspapers and magazines are vanishing partly because their business model is falling apart. Interest in the non-digital world is shrinking rapidly. Just don't expect me to like it.

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About Mark Saleski

  • http://www.constancephillips.com Connie Phillips

    The Sunday paper was a tradition of mine for a lot of years as well. it’s not quite the same to read the news on a laptop while sipping coffee in bed is it?

    Unfortunately, I think you’re absolutely right and it’s an entity that is facing extinction.

  • http://middletowneyenews.blogspot.com/ Ed McKeon

    That would be the Hartford COURANT.

  • http://www.nashuatelegraph.com Damon Kiesow

    Mark –

    I think you can say a lot of things about the negative impact of cost cutting at local newspapers, but you are wrong that the Telegraph is mostly filled with AP. I realize you probably mean that as a shorthand for other things – most likely that you did not find the content appealing to you specifically which is a fine reason to not read/cancel.

    But in terms of wire coverage, there is less of it in the paper than ever. We have not run more then a handful of AP stories on the front page in the past two years – and the majority of wire is used on the Region and World news pages – whcih have themselves shrunk over the years. In fact, the Telegraph is one of a handful of papers in the region considering dropping the AP all together – though that decision has not yet been finalized.

    Hopefully you are still reading online

    Thanks

    Damon Kiesow
    Managing Editor / Online

  • http://marksaleski.com Mark Saleski

    oops, right you are ed! typing before coffee = bad

  • http://everythingisamess.wordpress.com Tom Johnson

    Sunday paper’s about all we care anymore, unfortunately, and, even more sadly, it’s mostly for coupons and ads. The content of our local paper is really pretty crappy. They’ve cut out so many enjoyable features that the good parts are gone, and the real news was found online, yesterday. When they got rid of their music writer, Michael Senft, I knew things were bad. He was a good writer, I liked him in the same way that I like Roger Ebert – I may not agree with him but I could always tell if I’d like something based on his pieces, which is a rare thing these days. Now they use generic articles that everyone sees all over the country. I think he may still contribute the occasional small thing here and there, freelance, but I sure miss his reviews. And a good paper in general.