Print media: Why it’s important

As I sat this morning at Burger King eating my croissant sandwich, the Tribune-Review spread out on the table, I thought about why I can’t imagine my life without magazines and newspapers. On paper, please.

I sat in the farthest booth on the far side. A BK employee scooted in to the farthest booth on the near side. Initially, she held up the newspaper in front of her face. I wondered if it was not only an effort to read the newspaper without leaning over the table but also a way to not have to face me as I ate my breakfast and looked all around, taking in the sights.

My new habit: buying the Monday paper. I choose whether to spend my 50 cents (Tribune-Review) or 75 cents (Post-Gazette) based on what’s showing in the window of the vending box. My default is the PG, as it has the NYT crossword. But today I bought the TR, as it had a front page article about our baby-faced mayor and his lagging track record. I read the obits, learned about Barbara Mandrell’s dad Irby, and the first woman to become a licensed ship captain, Molly Kool. (Isn’t that a great name?)

So here’s my Monday list, why newspapers are cool, and magazines should stay in print:

1. A printed newspaper is not only readable anywhere, with no batteries required, it can double as a privacy screen, an umbrella, and when you’re done reading it, a lining for your hamster’s cage.

2. Because you are not self-selecting what you read, you end up gleaning information you might have otherwise passed over. (I didn’t buy the paper so I could read Molly Kool’s obit, but it was there, so I read it. I might have missed that in an online paper.)

I also didn’t buy the paper to read about the recession, but it was there on the front page, so I read it. I’d heard about the tea parties against the current administration, but wasn’t interested enough to Google it, but there it was, on the editorial page.

3. Who ever heard of doing the daily crossword on your Blackberry?

4. It’s an really cool old fashioned thing to do, to use coins to open a box that contains printed on paper news.

5. I think I used too many reasons in #1.

6. I didn’t have to call the movies to find out what time I’m going to see “He’s just not that into you,” I read it in the entertainment section.

7. I can cut out articles I want to save or share with others. Actually, one of the folks featured in today’s Trib, food technologist Lauren Knezovich, found her job that way. Tony LaRussa writes, “Her interest in food was the result of an article about food scientists that was passed on to her by her mother.”

8. This quote: “It’s hard to take the Republican leaders too seriously when they criticize the recovery plans for the economy; it’s sort of like those geese criticizing the evacuation plans for US Airways Flight 1549.” (Time’s Michael Grunwald in the opening statement of a report on President Obama’s spending package.)

9. When you’re packing your glass items when you move, the online NYT isn’t going to be very helpful.

10. Are you really going to read the newspaper online while you’re pruning away in the bathtub?

(Bonus) 11. Children can learn about folding and sequencing by putting the sections back the way they were when the newspaper hit your doorstep.

Reading over my list, I see I didn’t give a single reason for why magazines should stay in print. So go back to the list and insert magazine everywhere the word newspaper fits in.

What do you think? Do you have a favorite newspaper? A favorite use for the newspaper?

Tribune-Review or TR: Pittsburgh’s more conservative paper, still priced at 50 cents.
Post-Gazette or PG: Pittsburgh’s mainstream paper, a little pricier at 75 cents.
NYT: New York Times, the grandest newspaper ever, in this writer’s humble opinion.


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