about this sitesee Meranda's resumesee clips and work sampleskeep in touch

News-paper is just an option

Amy Gahran’s piece, Startling New News Technology, at Poynter reminded me of something. The basic gist of the column is her making fun of the idea that people still read something as old fashioned as the news paper.

On one of the job interviews I went on, I had a lunch with three reporters. One was a mojo, one was business and one was general assignment. One of the topics of conversation that came up was how/where they got their news.

  • Mojo, a year out of college: read lots of blogs and watched cable news.
  • Business, upper 20-something: newspaper/magazine Web sites mostly.
  • General assignment, had children almost my age: the paper mostly, but some local TV news.

It was an interesting conversation. Something I’ve discussed with my college peers frequently, but seeing how several working journalists consume news in such different ways was interesting. Why this struck me was the business reporter’s comment, “I don’t even get the newspaper anymore. I just read it online.” And the G.A.’s subsequent surprise and outrage at the sacrilege.

Last week, I wrote one of those cute, every day stories that I turned around in about an hour. Hardly hard-hitting A1 material. My editor asked me that afternoon if I thought I could get art for it and if it would work for the communities page for Monday. He then proceded to kind of defend the decision to put it on the communities page, as if I cared where it ran in the paper.

I wanted to tell him, I usually don’t even look at the newspaper to know where my stories run. Run it Web exclusive. I probably won’t know. I pick up the actual paper probably twice a week. Not to see my own stories, but because I don’t like reading stories with lots of break outs/links to related stories online. (It’s disjointing and annoying to me. But that’s just me.)

Granted, if I know he’s planning my story for an A1 package, I’ll take that into consideration in how I write it and give it more time than a quick hit story like this one. But in general, I give everything my best effort without regard for when or where it’ll run. I also realize, only three stories are going to land on A1 or the front of local each day. (Our paper is a weird size called Berliner. A bit bigger than a tabloid, but significantly smaller than a broadsheet. So, we get fewer stories on section fronts.) There are a lot more reporters than that. Not everything I write will end up on front. That’s perfectly OK. Not everything should or deserves to be.

Still, I thought that Gahran’s post was slightly condescending. She was obviously trying to be sarcastic. But, *shrug*, as much as I don’t read the paper in print as often as I’d like to, I still do know how. My nephews still know how, and the youngest is barely 8. I’m only 21, and I still enjoy reading the paper in print. When I was at Kent State, I read four newspapers on newsprint every day. I’d probably still read at least two of them in print if I was anywhere near the circulation area.

The point is, for each his own. Just as each of the reporters I had lunch with gets his or her news in a different way, so does the rest of the world. A newspaper is merely another platform on which to publish the news. Some people prefer it. And as old-fashioned as it might seem, those people deserve to have that paper delivery just as much as that punk texting during Modern History has a right to news updates via SMS. People want options. The printed newspaper is just one option.

2 Responses to “News-paper is just an option”

  1. Amy Gahran Says:

    Hi, Meranda.

    You wrote: “The basic gist of the column is her making fun of the idea that people still read something as old fashioned as the news paper.”

    Hmmm, actually you might have missed a couple of important points which were in fact intended as the “basic gist” of my humor piece:

    1. I’ve decided to pay for a subscription to the print edition of the Denver Post.

    2. I’m giving print media another chance, despite my great skepticism about print media for news delivery.

    – Amy Gahran

  2. Meranda Says:

    Amy — Thanks for the comment. I see your point, just some of the humor didn’t quite hit home for me. :shrug: But that’s fine. I am glad you are giving print another chance.