Thursday, August 05, 2010

Golly Gee Whiz, I Love Newspapers.

President James Madison said, "A popular government without popular information, or the means of acquiring it is but a prologue to a farce or a tragedy" ( For most of its history, the United States depended primarily on newspapers to provide that information. But newspaper companies are falling deep into debt, journalists are losing jobs, and the country is in one of its worst economic situations of all time. Times are obviously changing, and with that the technology world is quickly evolving in its own time spin. But someone forgot to inform the newspaper industry.

At about a dollar a newspaper, one wouldn’t think that such an affordable piece of valuable information could ever die out. But more and more every day, people are turning to new technology to get their news: radio, television, internet, phones, or things like Kindles. Yet newspapers have always been the original format for news; for them to completely die out is not something I would want to imagine. They are a valuable source of information, and I am here to persuade you that newspapers are important, should be purchased, and in most cases are the better option as opposed to getting news online.

There’s something about getting newspaper ink on your fingers and turning the large, crinkling pages. It’s just like reading a book; if you want the full experience, you want to engage it with all of your senses. Touching the pages; seeing the big headlines, captions and bylines; and becoming engrossed in your information are all part of the unique experience of reading a newspaper. There are just some things you can’t get out of a webpage, and that includes the intimate reading experience.

Reading the newspaper has always been an American tradition. There are, in fact, still people that can’t imagine starting their day without a cup of coffee and traveling down the driveway to scoop up the morning newspaper. The fact that newspapers are so much more tangible than their internet counterpart is important in American life as well. Newspapers were meant to be picked apart, to be dived into and pored over. At a kitchen table over breakfast, different sections can be passed around; someone reads the news while another looks over the comics. Reading the newspaper can be a great bonding activity and a way for entire groups and families to become more involved in and aware of their community. Plus, during all of this bonding, the newspaper’s battery will never die.

Newspapers are more reliable than technology will ever be. Newspapers don’t crash like an online news site would. The advertisements in a newspaper don’t flash, move, or even talk to you when you least expect it like they may on a website. Register or join to read the paper? Not in a newspaper format. Simply purchase a newspaper for a dollar and open it up. No chance of forgetting passwords, registering, or opening confirmation emails just to read the news. Newspapers also “load instantly.” So you’re reading the news online, you’ve managed to create a username and password, remember them, and log in. Then your computer freezes and you cannot load your news. That’s not possible with a tangible newspaper. And if the worst that could happen to your newspaper is being dropped in a puddle or spilling a cup of coffee on it? A dollar to replace it. Drop your laptop or Kindle in a puddle or spill coffee on it and you’ve dug yourself into a very deep hole. According to, a newspaper can be read while standing, eating, riding a bus, but never while driving a car, which is precisely when nothing should be read. The site also boasts that newspapers, unlike other news outlets, are not composed of unrecyclable toxic materials.

American social historian Daniel J. Boorstin once said, “There was a time when the reader of an unexciting newspaper would remark, ‘how dull is the world today!’ Nowadays he says, ‘what a dull newspaper!’” newspapers have been pushed to the back burner in today’s society full of fancy gadgets and forward technology. But isn’t there something to be said about taking a moment to do something ‘out of the ordinary’ – reading a newspaper – even if that’s something that used to be the ordinary? Newspapers are a valuable source of information that provides the most intimate of reading experiences, one that requires the reader to engage each and every one of their senses – something a computer cannot stimulate. Reading the newspaper is something that has always been meant to be an American tradition - - a family tradition. And finally, newspapers are simply more reliable than the internet could ever dream to be: the newspaper is always affordable, handy and easy to locate, until the day we stop investing in it. So if you haven’t read one today, pick one up for about a dollar and see what you can discover.


Melissa Blake said...

I am SO proud of you!! This is soooooo wonderful!!!

Anonymous said...

Yah you forgot to talk about the part where they are a day behind, often lack in world news coverage, are expensive, and are a waste of paper.

I can go to or and get news happening up to the second with updates and edits being done on the fly as news comes in, that's not possible with a newspaper and never will be. They are irrelevant.

You wouldn't pay someone a dollar to tell you what happened yesterday with their own bias spun in, so why are you paying the newspaper to do just this? They are overpriced, obtrusive and useless.

Newspapers are irrelevant and anyone serious about getting into journalism know exactly where they should be focusing right now, the internet. Focusing on an old dying medium is like getting upset that no one is spending the time to chisel things in rocks anymore now that papyrus and ink have been invented.

New technology will surpass and replace old models and if you can't adapt then you lose.

Jessi Haish said...

Newspapers will never be irrelevant, Anon. Newspapers are part of American tradition and will always exist in some format. I am not here to write that newspapers are the most important or that that's what we should focus on, but this post is rather a celebration of the newspaper.
I am serious about going into journalism and realize that the internet is the newest form journalism is taking. It's not so much that I'm focusing on a dying medium but rather celebrating one of the best. I actually don't intend on going into newspaper journalism, if you even knew that much about me to make that judgment.

AmandaRose said...

Newspapers aren't a dying medium. They are a transforming medium. Yes they are irrelevant when it comes to breaking/world news, but what about the local? Newspapers will survive they just have ti adjust to a changing media market. People are gathering their news differently now...thats all.


Anonymous said...


You can get local news on the internet.

Newspapers as a physical entity are DEAD.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous -

With the advent of the third-dimension being "attainable" through technology, why do we continue to sculpt?

With the advent of being able to create beautiful, rich pictures through electronic computer means, why do we continue to use paper or canvas?

With the advent of synthesizers, why do we continue to compose through numerous instruments and jungles of cords?

Perhaps people have preference.

Perhaps some things can not be reproduced or mimicked to the fullest extent, but rather, a pale imitation.

May the newspaper's pages never run dry.

- Anonymous

Linz said...

on the one hand, i agree with anonymous only to the extent that reducing newspaper circulation reduces mowing down trees - i don't have statistics, but i would think it would be enough to make a difference.

HOWEVER, i do understand and agree with Jessi. as much as i love our trees, the idea that newspapers are slowly becoming extinct is extremely saddening for me. they ARE a tradition and a privilege. they're an *experience*. you flop outside in the early morning hours in your robe, groggy from an early alarm, grab the newspaper from the lawn, tuck it under your arm, and dream of that moment when you get to sit at your breakfast table, scanning (and often tut-tutting at) headlines while drinking a cup of coffee. then, of course, you skip ahead to the comics because that's the coolest part of any newspaper.

i'm all about technology - i'd love to get a Kindle and surgically attach it to my palm so i can read books all day long. BUT i won't forego my paper books, nor my paper newspapers, just because it's more "convenient" to get things electronically. and i'm not going to forgo live music in the park just because i have a vast collection of music on my mp3 player. nor will i forgo plays in theaters because i have HD TV and Blue Ray.

hurrah, Jessi. wonderful post!

Jen said...

I really enjoyed this one Jessie. You make some good points, and I agree that, like the book there is something about the physical presence of a newspaper, holding the words in your own hands to peruse.

On the other side however, I agree with some of the other comments (in part). Online updates much faster than newspapers can keep up with. There does however seem to be a balance striking within some publications however, between their paper, and online site. Eg- Online site breaking a story overnight, and the paper printing that story, front page or whatever, the next morning.

I am interested in seeing where the newspaper goes in the next few years. I don't think it will die, as like people who prefer actual books to kindle, people will also prefer to read news in the newspaper. Instead of online, or downloading it (which is happening I hear).

I myself, will most likely going into online news, but there will always be a place for the newspaper. That place may have to adapt a little is all.

Great post today!

UjSen said...

This anonymous dude/dudette has a point.....but all the debating aside.......there's just something about waking up in the morning and having the paper in your hands...In this world of micro blogging and instant updates......print media lets you take in information at your own pace....and just feels real. period.

Though I might add....quality of journalism is going down the drain.

Defiant Princess said...

Newspapers are a part of EVERY tradition, as far as I know. I'm a teen, but can't think of starting a day without a copy of The Times, its like a part of my daily routine now. While i'm in the bus, my ipod's battery may die but the newspaper's always there to keep me company. I totally love the newspaper and agree that no other alternative can compare it :)

Online RSA said...

I really hope the newspaper never goes out of style, I love that Sunday morning-coffee-bathrobe-newspaper feeling :)


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