Sunday, May 31, 2009

Sunday Musing: Extra! Extra!

Many old television shows show some of the younger characters on the living room floor in a prone position reading the comic section of the local paper. As we would get older, the attention would go over to the sports section where they would devour all the stories, box scores, and standings. Or we would want to see the latest in entertainment stories. All this would happen while dad would catch up on the news, and mom would see what specials the local grocery store was running. This is a picture of Americana.

As we grew up, we would see pretty much the headlines covered on the evening news. We would need 30 minutes for local news and 30 for world and national news. Most of the analysis of these stories would be in the next day's paper, along with the rest of the news. Now we can go to one of many channels and catch up on any developing story and by the time we read about it in the paper, it's history.

In the past generation, the number of newspapers have declined greatly. Most metropolitan areas had two papers, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. Cleveland lost their afternoon newspaper in 1982, when the Press ceased publication. That was one of many papers that have gone under in the past 30 years.

Now the trend has begun for newspapers to go digital and just be available online. I feel that the metropolitan dailies will eventually only be out 4 days a week, Thursday through Sunday.

I think that the small community newspaper will be the eventual survivor as they seem to be the only ones with a personal touch. The local Girl Scout cookie sale, trivial in the metro daily, is news in the small community weeklies.

In the town I live in we have a paper called The Post. There are several editions that are delivered in a four county area. It's printed by Trogdon Publishing. In 1975, Bruce Trogdon printed the first edition of the Chippewa Valley Messenger. This was a paper that was mainly classified advertisements. This later became the Trading Post, then the Post. What started during a recession in 1975, has experienced it's latest surge in the current recession.

I'm also partial to this paper because I've had several bylines, stories taken from this blog.

There are stories written in the small town pappers that would never make it in the larger circulation papers. My inlaws, who moved to Ohio from West Virginia in the fifties, get a paper from her home town, called the Clay County Free Press. One story that recently published was about a man who had died. He was buried with his pick up truck as he specified in his will. Another story in that edition was about this man who didn't get zoning in his favor by the county commissioners. He had been storing bottles of drinking water for the counties in one of his barns in case of emergency. He took the water to the parking lot of the county administration building and set the pallet in the middle of the lot. The county then offered water to anyone who wanted it.

Just something special about reading this stuff from a newspaper instead of online.

7 comments:

Margaret said...

I have memories of being on the livingroom floor, reading the comics. some comics that aren't even around any more.
I agree- there is something about a newspaper in your hands as opposed to online.
Same with the new electronic book. I've been tempted to get one, but I do like the feel of a real book on my hand.

Pigeon said...

Another thing I miss from the "old days" is the cartoon shorts that used to play before a movie feature. Now all you get are commercials.

Tim Lones said...

Cliff:
Great post..Even now, when I go on an extended trip with my wife to another part of Ohio or a neighboring state, I always buy the newspaper for that area..Used to do the same thing with the old small-edition TV Guide (I am such a geek..LOL)..There is something special about seeing a story in the paper as opposed to reading it online. Interesting as well to read stories from other parts of the country..

Pat Jenkins said...

i could not agree with you more wixy!! the local paper may be the last print survivor. too bad we didn't get a chance to see your work in the local rag!!

J. Moses(Tri-State Media Watch Editor) said...

A great post Cliff. And I agree...we'll eventually come to a point where the major metro dailies might only be 4 days a week for Dead Trees (tm OMW) editions, with a web presence the rest of the week. And of course, you know about the Cincinnati/Kentucky Post; as I have noted in the past at TSMW, that paper went under at the end of 2007.

By the way, I have branched out to my fourth (!) blog, which is a picture/video blog. Go check it out please if you are so inclined...

Syd said...

I still like having the paper. I find it comforting to read real books, real newspapers, etc.

Ben said...

Couldn't agree more. I'm a newspaper nut. When I am visiting an unknown town, I always buy a local paper to get the local flavor. And how am I supposed to exist on comics only four days a week???