As time goes by the paper is starting to remind me of a pet that really needs to be put to sleep. The Saturday paper was the thinnest I’ve seen it this morning when I found it waiting on the porch this morning to be brought in -- the advertising inserts moving inside the loose skin of the plastic bag were like aging bones and the lack of actual pulpy newspaper was like the withering flesh of a small animal that keeps hanging on long after we all thought it would die.
Markie’s reason for keeping the paper is more sentimental than practical. We keep spending money every month on keeping it, and then there’s that accumulation of waste we need to take out to the curb every week. I can only use so much newspaper for building a fire (and I pride myself on not needing much), and our fresh fish comes vacuum sealed in plastic not wrapped in newspaper.
Unlike a dying pet which we can’t part with just yet, when it finally does go, there won’t be another newspaper to take its place. Less like a pet owner and more like a cowboy getting a pick-up truck, the dying old newspaper we find on our porch every weekend is already being replaced completely and irrevocably.
The OpEd section wasn’t entirely replaced by amateur blogs, but the Huffington Post gives me commentary on the news faster than the Oregonian can get the new to the press. Although The New York Times seems to be transitioning nicely to in-depth news and opinion online it’s not really a newspaper at that point.
I don’t know the fate of the comic strip artist, although there is more than enough wry humor on the Internet and I can find my favorite artists online. Sports fans obsessed with stats not only get the advantage of real-time numbers but the whole world of fantasy sports leagues is automated online. And Markie’s original justification for the Sunday paper (real estate listings) has been replaced with her surfing Redfin in bed on a Sunday morning.
I think the only thing that really doesn’t transition from the old newspaper to the new information network is local news. But then, the cowboy who gave up his horse for a pickup truck opened up the realm of “local” from “a day’s ride” (about 15 miles) to “just down the road” (in Texas? 50-80 miles).
I’m not advocating the death of the newspaper, but I hate to see it suffer. It might be time to just let it quietly slip off to sleep an never wake up again.
Then we can blog about it, add Facebook comments and read the stats about how many survive.