Alarming Announcement

The Detroit Free Press announced yesterday that it will begin limiting home delivery of its print edition to three days a week starting early next year. Apparently, there will still be some sort of printed newspaper available on the other four days as well, but it will only be sold in stores and racks.

I find this pretty alarming, but not really unexpected. Smaller newspapers have been making similar announcements and cutbacks for quite some time, but this is a major metropolitan daily, and I’m pretty sure this won’t be the last such announcement. We’ve all been hearing for decades about how newspapers were on the way out. Seems it may finally be happening. And that’s sad, not just because it means the end of an institution that has been such an important part of history, but because it also signals the end of a very effective, compact, and convenient means of preserving that history in the future. A complete newspaper from, say, 1942 or 1959, is perhaps the quintessential pop culture artifact of its day; nothing else is really comparable.

I’m pretty comfortable accessing most of my information digitally, but barring a digital display tool that approximates the size and feel–but more importantly, the foldability and browsability–of a newspaper, it’s never going to be quite the same for me once the printed version finally disappears.

Comments

Alarming Announcement — 3 Comments

  1. I seriously considered canceling my Daily Gazette subscription with the price increase last time but changed my mind. I guess it’s something I got from my dad because he read the paper every day and I have for years. It’s easy to navigate as opposed to a lot of media web sites that intentionally hide information so you’ll have to scroll through more ads. The Gazette actually has a pretty simple web site to navigate but the Times-Union and the Charlotte Observer changed their site around this summer and sometimes I feel, Why bother? News programs concentrate on sensationalized news and the uninteresting but important gets looked over.

  2. I like eating at diners especially breakfast and the newspaper is my essential carry along. A local diner I go to a lot has wifi so once I took my itouch and thought I would just toy with that while I waited for my food. After about 3 minutes I went outside and got a real paper.

    I would hate to see papers fold. I just think they should focus on what they can do well. There is a myriad of choices for national/international news and analysis. But very little local news. I think that is the local hometown rags future bread and butter. When I take my paper in, I pull out the local/state section and of course the sports section. But the “A” section is not news to me. I have already reviewed the days news online. The news that the ap or Reuters does not cover are the local stories and even state news. That should be the focus of dailies. That I cannot get from the top stories on igoogle or yahoo.

  3. When I visit a new town and check into my accommodations for the evening, I take two things into the bathroom with me (pardon the image): the local paper and the phone book. In my view, it’s the best way to learn a lot about a place fairly quickly. Soon, I may not be able to do either.