The future of newsprint is questionable, at best. In ever-increasing numbers, people are turning to the internet for up-to-the-second news, to socialize with friends (and strangers), to write in their public diaries, or to just waste countless hours that could better be spent outside. By the way, I am guilty of all charges. After your grossly obese uncle, otherwise known as the internet, takes his piece of the populous pie, there just isn’t much left for the newspaper to fill his stomach on.
What happens when a newspaper can’t afford to pay all their reporters due to lower subscription rates? What happens when the readers stop writing their letters to the editor because they are now posting their opinions on their personal blogs?
My local newspaper is called The Evening Star, and is currently having an identity crisis; beginning April 6th, it will be known simply as The Star. The Star is restructuring things a bit to balance service to its readers and still maintain profitability in these tough times. One such change will be a switch to morning delivery seven days a week. It won’t exactly make sense to be called The Evening Star, hence the truncated moniker.
How does this affect me? It doesn’t. My work schedule requires that I read the paper in the afternoons, but the weekends are mine for the taking. And while I enjoy staying up to the moment with news online, there’s just something about opening your small town newspaper and reading about your local high school choir kicking butt and taking names at competitions that’s, well, comfortable.
On Sunday, Sarah, Tyler, and myself were sitting at the dining room table enjoying breakfast. As I flipped through the paper, I had to deliberately resist the urge to paraphrase some of the articles for Sarah. She hates it when I do that because she then has no desire to read the paper herself. When I finished with the first section, I moved on to the Life section of the paper.
I picked it up and gave it a bit of a shake. I don’t know why I did that though, because it wasn’t necessary. Maybe that’s just how I’m used to seeing people read the paper on television. I started reading an article, but cannot recall the subject because Sarah interrupted me.
"Oh my God. Turn it over turn it over turn it over!"
I jerked the paper down, thinking something was happening with Tyler. At nine months old, he’s getting better at crawling, assisted walking, and pinching food with his fingers. I assumed that Tyler was doing something new that I had to see. Instead, I see Sarah staring wide-eyed at me. Or rather, at the newspaper in front of me.
"Wha-", I started to inquire as I flipped the paper around.
Right there, in color print, was a six by nine inch photo of Tyler with Oreo cookie drool covering his mouth. The extra-ocular muscles that control the movement of the human eye can rotate it at a velocity of up to 1000 degrees per second or, in layman’s terms, very fast. And that was almost not fast enough for my patience. I had to know the results.
Almost exactly a month ago, in the Life section of the newspaper, I saw a collection of photos. That was when I learned of a monthly photo contest where people would upload a photo that they took, to be judged and voted on by anyone. I told Sarah about it and immediately thought of the Oreo cookie incident.
Seeing that picture in our newspaper was, in a word, awesome. It took about 1/1000th of a second to find the blurb, but it felt like an eternity. After telling Sarah that we won, we did something that I’m not sure whether to laugh about or be ashamed about. We high-fived each other. Twice.