Normally, I get news coverage from the car radio on the way to and from the office, and 4 or 5 times per week, I supplement that by checking out an online newspaper or two. And that is on top of the articles that I may check out when friends repost them on social media.
But it has been years since I sat down and read an actual print version newspaper.
There must have been something in the air during the more laid back, hot, hazy, humid summer days that put me in the mood to just relax and gently savour the world’s stories from a page that wasn’t glowing at me with bright ads blinking like Times Square … that and the fact that there was nothing on TV, so I had the time.
It could also be my slowly approaching retirement that has me rediscovering things that I enjoyed in the past but didn’t always have time for when I was busy building a career.
It didn’t take long for me to notice the huge difference in experience when reading a print version newspaper.
When I check out online news sources, it is perhaps to my own detriment that my reading is like a squirrel gathering nuts for winter.
I scan through the titles, I click on the ones that spark interest, I read a few sentences until I get the gist of it, and then it’s on to the next. I probably miss quite a bit that way because if the headline doesn’t catch my attention, I may skip an article altogether.
With a newspaper, because the whole article is open and in front of me, I am more likely to look beyond the titles and to preview a greater number of articles. And when I choose to read one, I will likely spend more time reading an article to the end.
You would think that as a blogger I’d be an avid online reader, because I do read some of my books on my iPad and I do read other blogs online. But when it comes to online newspapers, it’s sad to say that the title and just a little thumbnail picture aren’t always enough to grab my attention and stir my curiosity strongly enough for me to click on the mouse, when a page contains dozens and dozens of links to choose from.
As an experiment, I read the first few sections of the Saturday paper and then checked out the online version. The online version contained pretty much the same headlines, but I had to admit that I probably wouldn’t have clicked on many of them just based on the title alone, whereas I did read them in the print version. I definitely got more out of the physical newspaper.
Ironically, as much as my computer set up is comfortable for hours of writing, I can’t seem to do it for hours of reading. I’d say the print version of a newspaper is more successful at capturing and keeping my attention for longer periods.
I wouldn’t reject the notion that because I paid for this news source, I have greater incentive to get more out of it. As a result I tend to read more of it than I would from a free news source. That might be a valid theory.
Some might point out that one can get news stories faster through electronic media. I would agree. But I have never been one who yearned to be in the loop every second of every day about every world event. If I only got the news once per day, but a more thorough understanding of it, I’d be perfectly fine.
To me, the best part about the print newspaper was that there were no reader comments. I never understood the sudden need to give readers the chance to air their opinions on everything, an opportunity which has turned into a less than exemplary display of human behaviour. Let’s just leave it at that.
As I read my newspaper, I noticed how I missed the scent of a newspaper, I missed the rustling noise of a newspaper, and I missed the tactile experience of holding a newspaper and losing the feeling in my completely outstretched arms over long periods.
I missed the organization of a newspaper with different sections featured on different days of the week. I even missed the smudgy fingerprints I sometimes left after reading the paper.
I was also reminded of the joy I felt when I read local newspapers over breakfast when I was traveling, whether for business or for pleasure. Newspapers kept me company when I was traveling on my own and were a fun part of getting to know my host cities.
For all of the newspapers that I have read in my teens, twenties and thirties, at a time when I didn’t have quite as much going on, I read articles on a diverse range of topics (even ones I wouldn’t have looked for myself) because they were right in front of me. Not only did I feel enlightened but I think that’s one of the reasons I am pretty good at trivia games today.
While some might argue that it is more efficient from a resource perspective to get one’s news online, newsprint does offer a multitude of ways to use and reuse it, ranging from the practical to the decorative.
For the simple pleasure and vastly different reading experience that a newspaper can offer, I sincerely hope that the newsprint format will continue to be offered as an option for years to come.
This experience proved that I was always a fan of print newspapers, and I still am!
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Sincere thanks for reading!
Have a great day,