Thursday, October 23, 2014

Reading the Morning Paper... Again

Democratic Blog News
     In this digital age, it is a well noted truth that less people read newspapers with every passing year. This has had a devastating impact on the newspaper business with papers in general thinning down due to losses in advertising. Papers have merged and even gone out of business. Most every newspaper has down sized considerably and have tried to build their online presence with various degrees of success. The hardest part of going online is monetizing it. Most every paper is available online for free. Out of all the newspapers I have perused from time to time online, only the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal require a subscription.
      I certainly have been part of this trend. I have home delivery of the New York Times but only on Sundays. This gives me a hard-copy of my favorite day but more importantly, my Sunday only subscription gives my full online access to the New York Times. Thus, I have the app on my PC, iPad, and iPhone. It is quite convenient. Even more convenient and free is Google News which is my home page on all my web browsers. It organizes all the news from a variety of domestic and international papers and provides different perspectives on the same story. I have to think about going to the New York Times app whereas Google News is the home page on the web-browser I use the most. Google News and Yahoo News both have similar capabilities. Both allow users to read the stories or watch videos. For basic news, they are quite good and quite sufficient. I access all of these on my PC, iPad, and to a lesser extent my phone. These have been my news sources these days.

     The problem is not just circulation revenue.  The loss of circulation has impacted advertising revenue and this is what has really hurt the industry the most.  The Sunday New York Times used to be as thick as a phone book because of all the full color advertising inserts and full page ads in the paper itself.  Today, the Sunday Times is less thick then a weekday version of paper in the old days.  The same is true for the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, The Detroit News, and The Boston Globe to name a few.  This is just another consequence of the speed and power of the internet.  The Newspaper Advertising Revenue graphs shows how ad revenue is the lowest it has been since 1950.

      Even with this convenience I have not habitually read the Times or Google News. I turn to them when I hear of a news story the perks my interest but I do not access them by habit. That is simply because I have not really had a daily routine in which the habit of reading the news fit into a natural time slot. When I used to commute to New York by train, the morning commute was when I read the paper.
      Lately, I have been reading the news every morning. Furthermore, I have been reading the newspaper everyday. Yes, I mean the printed on paper newspaper. This is because, with my full time position at North Park University, I have a routine. I am at my office most days before around 7 am. I am the first one in most days. The School of Business and Nonprofit Management has a subscription to the Wall Street Journal. Our offices are in an old house, so the paper is waiting for me on the stoop every day. I bring it in with and sit an peruse the paper, old style, from front to back. It has been quite pleasant and quite informative.

     There is something about laying the paper out on the desk, scanning each page for articles and ads of interest, reading them, and then turning the page.  It is different from doing the same on a computer screen.  Both have their advantages and drawbacks.  It just feels good to be a little old school at my new school.
     Last week, I experienced something I completely had forgotten about. It had rained all night and I had the pleasure of having to read a half wet newspaper.

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