I saw the “60 Minutes” pieceSunday on the New Orleans Times-Picayune, which is now publishing just three days a week as it intensifies its online presence. It was a sad 20 minutes as CBS’ Morley Safer interviewed the newspaper’s editor about the plight of the proud newspaper, which has been publishing since the 1850s, I believe.
Everybody knows the challenges faced by newspapers in this high-tech age. I’m not blind. I see people 30 and under almost exclusively using their smart phones and tablets when they’re out and about. I made it a point to look around while I was in Arizona last week covering the Fiesta Bowl, just to see if anybody I regard as young was reading a paper.
I’m sad to report that I didn’t see many. Even on the flights I was on, most passengers were locked into their mobile devices. Gee, I thought newspapers were a mobile device.
Just this morning, before our radio show started, some of us were looking at today’s Eagle and remarking about how good the cinnamon roles pictured on 1A in the skybox looked. We all had our papers opened, just like the good old days. But we were also all over the age of 45, part of a generation that depended on newspapers.
Like everyone else, I’m wired. No, not in that way. I’m wired to the Internet. I have my iPhone 4s and my laptops – plural. I can Google and Skype and I know my way around a browser.
But if newspapers eventually go away in their current form – and I’m not convinced that will happen – we’re all going to be sorry. Or we all should be sorry. I’m not sure young people will be sorry. They seem to have moved on.
I was raised on newspapers. The Eagle and The Beacon, which used to be the afternoon paper, were big in our house in Derby. My parents were big newspaper readers and it rubbed off on me. Newspapers taught me about sports, I believe. I read every story on the sports pages and perused every box score.
It’s easy to find information on the Internet, of course. And trust me, I find my share.
But I still marvel at newspapers and the work that goes into producing them. I like to see how a paper is laid out, how photographs are used, how headlines are written. I enjoy information boxes and photo captions and the agate page, even though at my age it’s becoming harder to read.
There’s also something about reading a printed word in a newspaper that is more enjoyable for me than reading it on a computer screen. That’s weird, I know. I guess it’s something about having a newspaper in my hands rather than having my hands on a mouse or a touch screen.
It occurs to me as I write this blog how old I must sound. But that’s OK. I’m proud to be from the newspaper generation and I’m not one of those people who is unwilling to dive into the electronic age. I wish there was room for both, but we’re finding out there isn’t.
The blog I’m writing, by the way, appears only at Kansas.com, The Eagle’s website. Without it, I wouldn’t have this blog, which has become something I enjoy working on every day. It’s another outlet to write and it gives me great freedom to discuss a variety of topics, including this “Memories of a Sportswriter” blog I try to do every Wednesday.
So I’m not anti-Internet. I’m just pro-newspaper. Always will be.
Thanks for reading.