In the textbook for my J201 class is a chapter about newspapers. It starts out with a sort of historical summary of where the paper started, how it developed through the years, and how it got to be what we see it today. And then the chapter discussed the future of newspapers and how many critics think that the newspapers will die away or find new life on the internet. There was an interesting statistic mentioned somewhere in the middle of the chapter, though. It said that children who grow up in paper-reading families are more likely to carry on the tradition. My grandpa read the paper every day for a while until he switched to a weekly, local paper. And though I’ve spent most of my early childhood under his roof, I don’t read the paper.
The obvious reason is because all the information that one reads within the newspaper can be found online and at a much faster and cheaper rate. It’s free and instant; you don’t have to wait until six or seven in the morning (usually earlier) for the paper to smack against your door. And with as much as I’d like to just keep things the way they are and to just receive my news from the internet, I’m inclined to subscribe to a paper. I know it seems odd that I’d rather pay and wait for yesterday’s information to show up at my doorstep, but I find there are more benefits to reading the paper daily than what meets the eye.
Sure, your friends might learn about significant sporting, political, or social events a few hours ahead of you, but that might depend on an important factor. How many of us actually log onto the internet to read the latest news about politics, sports or the world of celebrities? I would imagine not very many. Except for maybe sports updates, we usually log onto the internet to watch funny videos, chat with friends, or browse Facebook. Someone who reads the newspaper every day, though, is enthralled with global, national, and local events that the online reader may not be. If you think of all the web pages there are on the internet vying for your attention, you realize that very few of them bring you relevant news. In fact, you probably realize that you’re more distracted as a reader than you would be if you merely picked up the newspaper. Newspapers have a limited number of pages; the internet does not.
I only write about this sort of thing because it seems to me to be an important tradition that we’re just dumping by the wayside, leaving it to die with the generations before us. And when I ask myself why this is, why I choose not to read the newspaper, I run into the issue I talked about yesterday: laziness. I don’t read the paper because I don’t feel like reading the paper. It’s not because I can’t afford the paper or because my eyes don’t work any more or because I’m allergic to reading (that would be hell as an English major); it’s because I just don’t want to put forth the energy. I reason with myself that I could just read all that stuff online, but the reality is I never do.
With as much free time as I’m going to have this summer, I think reading a newspaper on a daily basis would not hurt at all. Yeah, I’d have that ink stain all over my fingertips, and yeah, I’d have to pay another monthly bill, but I think the pros far outweigh the cons. My grandparents read the paper every day as did their brothers and sisters and all my older cousins and though they aren’t the richest people in the world, they have a strong and stable financial standing along with a constant sense of what’s happening in the world. Every time my grandpa calls, he asks me, “Did you hear about…” and goes on to talk about something he read in the paper. Even though I’m much more technologically savvy than he ever will be, he still finds out about stuff before I do. Why? Because he reads the paper, period. The solution seems pretty clear to me: read the paper, save a tradition, and wake up to the world.