The Future: Buggy Whips and Newsprint

This eight year old reads the paper just like his 41 year old father.

But, at 64 years of age, and in THIS instance only, I think I may be the future.

I read (online version of the NYtimes) that the “Seattle Intelligencer”, a newspaper in the state of Washington owned by the Hearst Corporation would cease print publication on Tuesday and switch entirely over to the web.  It’s web version is characterized as Huffington Post-like–an aggregate of blogs and commentary and links to stories “printed” elsewhere.


The Rocky Mountain News in Denver ceased publication altogether last month.

Is newsprint headed to the same museum that houses the buggy whip?

If I am the bellweather,  I think it is.

I was a three newspaper-a-day-on-the-front-stoop-girl for years.  Several years ago with the purchase of my laptop, the reading of newspapers on line became how I consumed them, propped up with nightcap on with coffee on the bedside table.  The print editions sometimes never even got looked at.   (I’m kidding about the nightcap so don’t write and ask for photos.)

I ended up throwing out the print papers, sometimes still rolled up.

I eventually canceled the subscriptions.

However, I was one that signed up to pay for full use of the NY Times website when they experimented with Times Select only to give up on it a year later and return to “free” status.   I am one of those who pay for the online Wall Street Journal even though it should come with THE patch and warning “Reading Causes Motion Sickness” or at least a warning by the Surgeon General that consuming this product is hazardous to your health.

Perhaps, the future is me,  afterall.  I want to consume the newspaper, at least certain newspapers, and I’m willing to pay to do it online in some instances.

Whether that’s a economic model for all newspapers, I don’t know.  But, at least, it’s a start.

PS.  I have tried reading magazines, e.g. “The New Yorker” on line and have not enjoyed the online experience at all.  I still prefer the magazine in hand.  I’m holding out on that,  but by the looks of things, holding a print version of a magazine or newspaper in your hand may be limited to holding your Kindle in the future. (I don’t have a Kindle, so don’t ask for a photograph of me reading my Kindle with nightcap on either)

So, tell me, let’s take a survey: how do you read your newspapers and magazines?

Do you still have newsprint on your fingers?

©Pat Coakley 2009


7 comments on “The Future: Buggy Whips and Newsprint”

  1. I read whatever is left in people’s seatbacks on airplanes. It’s surprising how many first class folks read The Economist. Since I am in hotels three nights a week I read a lot of USA Today. It takes about 15 minutes to read a USA Today. Also, I subscribe to the New Yorker. I tried to quit the New Yorker this year but after a month without I had to renew my subscription.

    Sorry newspapers… I have never bought a newspaper, although I did deliver them for four years when I was a kid. You know what? The newspapers kind of enslaved me with their modern day child labor law dodging practices. I hope they all go under. They did such an amazing job predicting our current economic demise. Why didn’t the Wall Street Journal warn everyone that all of our largest financial institutions were over leveraged at 35 to 1?

  2. Aw, Dave, don’t be bitter! Newspapers are people, too! Oh, what am I saying. BTW: are you masquerading as Jon Stewart?? Leverage point is the exact same question he threw at Jim Cramer the other night!

  3. I hardly ever read newspapers. There are so many other ways to get depressed! As for magazines (mostly art ones) – nothing can replace the scent of a newly opened one when it’s just arrived at your mailbox. So yes, I read mine printed.

  4. It all changed for me when I moved here. I used to read a daily paper or two every day. Since we don’t get any stateside newspapers here except at a usurious rate due to shipping, I read the NYT online.
    I prefer real newspaper- after a while reading from a laptop strains my eyes.

    I’ve got subscriptions to several art magazines and tear out sheets that interest me.

    A night cap- like a hot toddie?
    Or something to cover up the muffin top?

  5. Nava, I am always so amazed that people go about their day without viewing a newspaper. Another friend of this blog said she can weeks without really tuning in to the world. This, and I am not kidding, is my goal. Oh, it is so damn hard for me to do.

    Bonnie, Muffin Top night cap, I mean! I actually read less of one particular newspaper on line but read more stories from others with all the hyperlinking. Yes, it does strain my eyes, too.

  6. I ran a newspaper in college and worked as a reporter for about a year (what a nightmare that was – the former as well as the latter). I used to be an avid newspaper reader, but then the drop in the quality of American newspapers became unbearable. My dream was actually to become a feature writer, but then I started to notice that the papers I’d once loved (The Oregonian, The St. Paul Pioneer Press, etc.) started running fewer and fewer feature stories. America’s most literary papers began giving in. It was all so depressing.

    It’s appalling, really. Hell, there was a time when moderately sized newspapers put out TWO papers a day. Why? Because, God forbid, people wanted to be connected.

  7. Now this is really interesting. I’m a convert to online periodical reading, too. I generally get my news from the BBC, if I want to catch up on what’s going on downunder I read the New Zealand Herald website, if I want to know what’s going on in London at the weekend I read Time Out online, I like The Times Online as a newspaper and Monsieur reads Le Monde online. But I agree with you, Pat – when it comes to my favourite magazines, like Conde Nast Traveller and Gourmet, I prefer to have them the old-fashioned way. Glossy and in print.
    As for your comments on the Wall Street Journal and required warnings, how right you are. Hazardous for our health.

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