Newspapers Don’t Deserve to Die

In print or online, the newspaper has been a staple for centuries

Not so long ago, I aged myself fifty or sixty years when I wrote on my love of listening to the radio. I stand by that opinion with every station I flip, and now I am going to age myself, yet again.

Sorry, not sorry.

I love to read the newspaper – in print, if possible. (I understand the convenience of online editions, but there’s nothing like holding the pages in your hands).

Picking up a copy of the Spectrum is a great way to start reading the newspaper! Photo by Katie Leier.

Maybe this isn’t that big of a surprise, considering this is a newspaper article appearing in a newspaper, but “The Spectrum” isn’t the only paper I read. I make a point to read the “Fargo Forum” approximately every day, and if I want to read almost any newspaper printed in North Dakota, all I have to do is ask my dad; he has a subscription to just about every single one. 

I will reaffirm the point that I have made in past articles dealing with streaming services as well as radio: technology just ruins some things. I can get all the information I want with a few taps of a finger, but nothing beats doing something yourself.

In the case of reading the newspaper, I enjoy being able to spread each section out, flipping pages, and oftentimes, I cut out articles or comic strips that I find particularly interesting, important or just plain funny. I can save it to read as many times as I wish, long after I no longer have a subscription or (God forbid) the Internet dies and we no longer have access to the information we have now.

The “Fargo Forum,” following the pandemic, switched from printing their paper every day of the week to only a handful of times. Slowly, the amount of papers diminished, leaving us with our present value: twice a week, on Wednesdays and Saturdays. Not only that, but this action ran newspaper deliverers out of business.

I don’t know who remembers the morning paper, but it used to be that each day, the paper would appear on the front doorstep or in a mailbox. It didn’t “just appear”; someone had to put it there, believe it or not. The newspaper deliverers were unsung heroes: through rain, snow, wind, extreme temperatures, and everything in between, they made sure our papers made it to our door each day, with only a few blizzards causing delays. 

Gone are those days! The paper appears in the mail now, and with the recent occurrence of mail delays, newspapers often show up late enough for their articles to be “old news,” especially for papers from farther away in the state, such as my dad’s subscription to the “Grand Forks Herald” or the “Steele Ozone.”

Again, though, I only read the “Forum,” which I have access to online and is sold at many locations throughout the community, so while I don’t HAVE to wait for it to come in the mail, I sympathize with those without internet skills or accessibility who just want their paper.

Another reason I don’t enjoy papers coming in the mail is the fact that reading the newspaper is often seen as a morning activity. The mail is mostly delivered between late morning and early afternoon in my neighborhood (I can’t speak for other neighborhoods, but the amount of mail trucks I see making their rounds throughout the area at this time gives me the confidence to say this is probably the case for most people). Therefore, if the mail comes later on in the day, most people are at work or at the very least busy with other daily activities. Thus, the in-print paper goes to the wayside until evening, or the next morning, by which it will be old news again.

Why not just read it online at that point?

I actually do not wait for the Wednesday mail to read that day’s paper. I’m up early, and I got into the habit of reading the paper in the morning long before COVID changed the entire world. I read the online edition every morning with my breakfast, except for Saturdays. I will skip the paper for that day, and wait for the mail, reading Saturday’s edition on Sunday morning because there is nothing like curling up on the couch with breakfast, reading the in-print newspaper on a relaxed Sunday morning.  

Jumping back to my ordeal with technology, I know I can just scroll through the news feeds on my phone or Google any topic to read more, but that defeats the purpose. Reading the paper supports local news outlets and their staff. I’ve actually had the opportunity to meet several of the people who write for these papers, and I have more than a few family members who have written and still write for newspapers across the state. It’s interesting to see each person’s personality played out in their writing. Even for news stories, with no personal input from the writer, everyone writes just a bit differently.

Having all their articles in one paper is much easier than searching around the internet to find everything each individual wrote that week.

In the age of technology and the information boom, having local sources helps weigh out a few of the bigger voices. I like the old-fashioned tradition of reading the morning paper, and I enjoy the feel of the sheets in my hands. I’m sure I sound like someone better fit for a few decades before my time, but I don’t mind enjoying some of what we have left of the previous generations while we can.

Pick up an in-print “Spectrum” copy if you’re reading this online! Find some new articles and writers to read! Buy a real-live paper at a local business! Maybe you’ll find you really enjoy something new, yet old.

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