Who buys daily newspapers these days? A check of circulation of the major papers in the U.S. shows that most are down by anywhere from 4% to 10% with the Rocky Mountain News in Denver having a whopping 14% decrease in their Sunday edition sales. About the only paper to show an increase is USA Today which is basically a hard copy internet news piece.
Maybe that is why USA Today does so well: it copies the internet which is the medium that many have gone to for news, especially younger people. Most of the younger crowd I know have rarely ever read a newspaper. They claim they can browse all the news in the world right from their desktop and it is more current and less messy than a hard copy, ink smeared, newspaper. They say that a hard copy paper is "just a vehicle for ads, cartoons and sports scores anyway... They aren't ‘news-papers’."
Another factor in the decline of the newspaper is the cost. I received my bill from The Arizona Republic this week and it reflects another price increase. It now will cost me $37.10 for eight weeks to have the paper delivered to my door. For that amount I get to read news that happened the day before, a comic page that has deteriorated badly, and I am purchasing a product responsible for the destruction of millions of trees. However, I get to enjoy watching my efficient shopper wife gleefully cut out coupons that will more than pay for the cost of the paper, I have a great bird cage liner, and when I need some packing material my newspaper will always be there for me.
I admit that I check out the internet daily. It is a nice complement but, for me, it will never replace the newspaper. Maybe it is tradition since I grew up in the era of dependence on newspapers. Maybe I yearn for the sound of the corner newsboy shouting the latest headlines as cars pulled up to give him a nickel for his wares. Maybe it’s the remembrance of kids getting their first taste of work by delivering newspapers. Maybe its because I bought my first car from a classified ad in the newspaper. Or, maybe it’s because I cannot enjoy my morning coffee with out the newspaper as a companion.
Newspapers may have become to news what the Morse code became to modern communication but as long as there is a newspaper available, I will be a subscriber.
Oops! I have to go. I just heard my paper hit the driveway. I wonder what today’s headlines are!