Going to the church of newspaper....

Dateline: Wed 09 Jul 2008

Adman/pr guru Bruce Hetrick has penned a wonderful piece on his blog, titled, "Should I take this guilt trip?"

Here's what he wrote, and the link, so you can add your two cents worth on his blog if you wish:

http://www.tellhetrick.com/

"Every morning, The New York Times and The Indianapolis Star land on my driveway," writes Hetrick. "Most mornings, I move them, unopened, directly to the recycling bin.

"It's not that I don't keep up on the news. Many mornings, I've been

online and read The Times, The Star, The Washington Post and several

blogs and news feeds long before the printed papers arrive. I also check

these sites several times each day, so much of what appears in print is

old news, anyway.

"So why subscribe? It's not coupons or classifieds; I don't use them.

Maybe it's nostalgia. I used to deliver the paper. I liked the smell, the ink stains, being first to know the news. Perhaps it's romanticism. My late wife was a newspaper journalist. That's how we met. Or maybe my

paid subscription is a vote of support for the people who still report,

photograph, edit, print and deliver the news. I believe in what they do

and the value they bring.

"On the other hand, I'm more informed than ever through online content.

The images look great on my computer. There's video and sound if I want them, too. And I don't have to kill any trees.

"So whaddaya say, dear bloggers? Should I cancel the print subscriptions and go entirely electronic?"

My response? As I posted on Hetrick, I go to the Church of the Newspaper every day, print version, old school. Guys like Hetrick should consider penciling the print version in to their calendar, just like 40 minutes on the treadmill. Personally, I find reading obits and other intimate stories irritating as hell on-line. And what's to share? With the paper and a partner, you can pass a story around.

But here's the rub: I am retired and 61 years old. I'm the pathetic last-gasp exception. My kids don't read the paper, altho they do go on-line for news, obviously, but they have plenty of sources besides the daily or NYT.

When I bring the NYT in on Sunday, they barely know what to do with it. (They may sniff and occasionally pick up the sports section. With the daily paper, the daughter-in-law extracts the crossword from the features section. That's it. No editorials, no obits, no funnies, no Dennis Ryerson column, zilch. They don't even know who Matt Tully is).

So for the future, I fear it's a case of "the show is over, the monkey is dead." But if you have a shred of respect left, and another 10 years or so to live a coherent life, please, take the paper.

And read the goddam thing.

Thanks, Bruce.

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