March 28, 2008
Goodbye New York Times & The REST OF YA
Call me a traditionalist. Or perhaps not? Even though I get 95% of my news online and close to the same percentage for browsing new and absurd things, I still love holding physical paper, whether its a website print out, a well-designed magazine or a newspaper with lots of different pieces and interest sections.
I love the strength of a paperback novel, the New York Times weekend magazine or an old fashioned 'woman's' magazine, which I rarely read, but when I do, I expect it to be as it always was - a little culture, a little fashion, a little food, a little advice, a little health, a little on men (okay, so there's always more about men), a little politics, a little 'opinion.'
Jimmy's latest blog post has a dramatic title: Goodbye New York Times. We've heard umpteen 'goodbye to print, goodbye to newspapers, goodbye to traditional media' posts and articles, but for an east coast journalist to cut the ties to the New York Times? As you read on, you learn that he is personally saying goodbye.
Clearly, he's not saying goodbye because its a lousy newspaper with lousy content. It still has a wealth of interesting articles written by great writers. It's the 'work' involved and the fact that most of the news is old by the time it gets inked.
When I left Johannesburg, I cried. I HAD to have access to their local newspaper when I moved back to the states and was willing to pay for international shipping. I felt the same way when I left Sydney, London, Amsterdam, Paris, and Tel Aviv. There's something magical about the voice of local 'print,' .......all displayed in its own magical way. Tabloid, Glossy, The Ads, the Cartoons, the Columnists, what they decided to put on the lower right, the third page left. All of it.
Interestingly enough, when I moved from Boston to San Francisco, I felt NO sadness whatsoever leaving the Boston Globe behind. If anything, I felt relieved at not having to deal with too many editors and reporters who were so provincial, it was an embarassment to live there. Provincial and they often failed to capture the sauciest and edgiest of stories from local companies and people doing 'magical' things. Or when they did, it was too late.
It's all about who provides magic in the end.
Reading the New York Times still provides me with a little of that magic. The problem is as Jimmy points out is that its just too damn hard. His reasons are slightly different than mine, but the underlying issue is the same. Everything is now online and its quick, easy and free to access it. Plus, once you're reading an article, there is likely a link or two to other juicy information relative to that article and guess what? You got it. Two or three bouts of magic from one piece.
The magic that is clearly lost from an all online world is the physical 'magic.' There's nothing like holding something of substance in a big comfy chair or in an Adirondack hammock, whether its a novel, newspaper or magazine.
Jimmy writes, "what finally made me give in to the inevitable was realizing, one barely-dawn morning last week when I was reading the paper at our kitchen table, that I had already read much (most?) of it online. For all the pleasure of holding and print, the Times on paper is just too late. In 2008, today's paper is yesterday's news."
Inevitable. My point is that even when its not just about news and you can dive into great features not found in the 'same way' online, a regular subscription is too expensive and frankly, just too much work.
I also travel too much for it to be worthwhile. How many Sundays would I miss I ask myself, even if I went for the Sunday only subscription, which is all my busy lifestyle could realistically accommodate.
A couple of weeks ago, a friend of mine and I bought a Sunday New York Times. Since it was the west coast edition, it was lighter, but still had the weight of a Sunday paper. We walked down the hill to a funky coffee bar in San Francisco's Mission Street and read it in cozy open booths to the live jazz music playing in the corner. Magic? You betcha. An open laptop in that place just wouldn't cut it.
I hate to see print disappear altogether, but damn it newspaper elites, EVOLVE with what's happening in this new social media world and we'll evolve with you. There's a place for paper, so its time to adapt to what we need to see and feel in paper moving into the next several decades or prepare for an inevitable and painful black death.
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News papers are a generation ago. The next generation ( my 16 year old daughter ) hardly knows what a news paper looks like. These young people are on course to literally never have read a real news paper in their lives. What they seek is online now and they want it now, not tomorrow.
I am not sure how I found your blog, but I find it very interesting to read.
Posted by: Terry Reeves | Mar 27, 2008 8:41:33 AM
You're so right Terry. Hopefully the next generation still loves to hold a novel in their hands although many feel that they too are becoming obsolete.
Somehow holding a device even if its small, and reading an ebook on a hammock just doesn't work for me and I don't think its a generation thing.
It's about being human and touching something physical that has weight. Same thing as touching a great piece of silk.
Posted by: Renee Blodgett | Mar 27, 2008 2:27:51 PM