We are holdouts on dropping our subscription to the daily newspaper. Although you can get most of your news from other sources these days, especially national news, the newspaper is still a long term habit we’re not ready to let go of. Of course the fact I used to work there and had nearly twenty years to build this habit at half price gets most of the credit for this. Also, for several years after I left, the familiar bylines were like an invisible connection to the people I knew and grew to love. Yes, reporters are a curmudgeonly and questioning lot. The sky is blue? Prove it.
By and far the news is far from uplifting and my editor boss once explained it was because they report mainly on things outside of the scope of our expectations. We expect people to be nice and follow the law so when they don’t, it’s news. The role of a newspaper is to inform and interpret the news of the day. Provide context and choose the most important things the community needs to be aware of. But they do this online. I could go on and on about how newspapers cut the hand that fed them when they started giving the news away for free online. But that is for another day.
What I don’t get online are the surprise stories I wasn’t expecting. The little filler stories that don’t show up in my browser and would have otherwise been missed. The stories beyond the headlines. Today’s front page contains two COVID stories – the sectors that are still in limbo about reopening (gyms, theaters and wedding veunes) and how a nearby county bumped the pay of their essential workers where at least one employee was making $350 an hour. Yes, that’s news I want to know. Did you also know 2.5 million people get married every year?! The other stories deal with the owner of a limo company who is reponsible for the death twenty people in one accident and is also developing a golf club with Tiger Woods (he denies being involved in the project) and the death of a longtime activist in our city.
Just a typical Friday here in upstate New York. We’re having protests about a MAGA hat cake that caused the bake shop to shut down all their social media due to the online chaos it caused. People are still dying of heroin overdoses. Kids are selling lemonade. People falsely claimed over $1 BILLION from the department of labor over unemployment benefits during the pandemic. But the page I leave for last and the one thing that provides me with a little joy each day is the puzzle page. The jumble, sudoku, cryptoquip and crossword are the new daily routine that gets me going along with my coffee each morning. It gives me a sense of accomplishment as I begin the day. And it helps counteract the daily does of reality.
Do you read a daily newspaper?