Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The Newspaper

I am decidedly old school. My phone is connected to the wall. I listen to music on something that could never fit into a pocket. And I unlock my car with a key.

I also read newspapers.

Little holds the promise that a Sunday newspaper does. In its beautiful heft lies the world. International, national and local news. Sports. The Arts. Travel. Business, automobiles, real estate. Op-Ed pieces actually called Op-Ed pieces (and not news). Nothing is like reclining on a couch or bed and exploring its crisp, creased recesses.

Best of all, newspapers always work. They never crash—and they’ve been wireless since day one. There are no dead zones. No pop ups. There’s never a problem with connection speed. Or passwords. Or viruses. And if they get wet, they dry instead of die.

And another thing: ever hear of someone getting carpel tunnel syndrome from paging through a newspaper?

Inevitably, they also have their critics. “They’re old and slow.” “By the time they come out you’ve already heard everything.” “They take a whole day to be updated.”

All true. And that is the crowning glory of a newspaper. It is slow. Tell me the advantage of a media where speed replaces insight and speculation trumps fact. Wasn’t there a reason we frowned on knee-jerk reactions?

The dissolution of newspapers raises another concern. In a world fragmented by PDAs and texts and cell phones and blogs and instant messages and Blackberries, what is our common denominator? Where do we gather to commiserate? To laugh? To cry? To debate?

In a world of participatory media, do we risk becoming a society of writers without readers? Speakers without listeners?

The Tower of Babel springs to mind.

Yes, I am old school. Laugh at my ink-stained fingers if you must. But at 30,000 feet, tell me who’ll be laughing when we realize we left our respective media in the departure lounge.

1 comment:

  1. They will take my newspaper away only when they pry it from my cold, dead fingers...