I started reading the local newspaper around the age of 12. During my middle and high school years, I enjoyed reading articles that pertained to my school, organizations and events that revolved around youth, and of course, the comics. As I grew into adulthood, the news took on a different significance. Local and world politics, education and health issues, environmental and economic concerns, all started to attract my attention. The media provides a plethora of opportunities to tune in, search, scan, and highlight breaking news. Top stories are readily available. In the newspaper are stories presented many of us might never see. This is the value of the printed page.
Local newspapers provide the community with information regarding schools, town government, religious, and social happenings. They allow for in-depth reporting. I acquire most information on local issues in this manner. Social media and local internet sites provide some content, but it has yet to match the detail in the newspaper. It is also presented in a timely manner so there are no last minute surprises regarding issues or items that need addressing.
National and international stories are also included in the daily postings. Television and the internet usually focus on the major issues of the day. The newspaper is able to devote more time and space to stories that aren’t on the front burner. I find it interesting and educational when I discover a new issue, place, or happening. I can’t get all of that in one place on the computer. On a day when I don’t get an opportunity to read the paper, I get an uneasy feeling that I might have missed something.
The issue of accuracy of reporting also comes into play. There have been many instances of false information being disseminated in an effort to be first. “Exclusive” and “Breaking” are terms television news shows use often. They say this as a method of punctuating the fact that they know something others don’t. There have been many instances when the rush to be first led to the reporting of misinformation. The newspaper doesn’t have the luxury of being first. As a result, by the time the story is in print, most of the details have been examined and reported as fact. There are times when a retraction or correction is required, but the overall track record is acceptable in terms of giving us the right information.
More and more, newspapers are downsizing both physically and literally. Some have gone completely over to a digital format. Downward sales are blamed for the change. Young people gravitate to interactive media and many never open a newspaper. I don’t want to see a total demise in my lifetime. I want to be able to read it while waiting in an office, at a coffeehouse, or on the train. I want to enjoy the 20 minutes of quiet time as I eat lunch and catch up on the day. I hope I will always be able to walk down the drive in the morning, and pick up that daily paper. I wouldn’t want to start my day without it.