Save the Plain Dealer? or Save the Plain Dealer!

I’m torn.

Part of me sympathizes with readers who want to keep a daily paper newspaper and part of me thinks paper dailies are a thing of the past.

I get my news four ways: I get the New York Times on my computer and smart phone, I get the news on television, I get the news on my car radio- namely NPR and there are my friends who update me. I rarely buy a newspaper.

Here is what I miss when I get my news using the electronic formats: I don’t get local news nor do I get comics, crosswords, and the horoscope. I miss seeing the brides and seeing unexpected names in the obituary. I don’t have the feel of a newspaper in my hands.

I don’t miss bundling up newspapers to go to the recycle.

We haven’t subscribed to a daily paper for years. When we lived in Arkansas and California I didn’t miss it. I didn’t have children in the local schools; we didn’t own a house so I wasn’t too invested in the local government. There were usually free weekly papers that filled me in on enough of that news so I could at least vote intelligently on judges and issues.Save the Plain Dealer? or Save the Plain Dealer!

Now that we live back in my old stomping grounds, I find I am missing information on issues that crop up in the papers. You could say that I could find that same news electronically. True. But I don’t do it. I’m lazy about that stuff. I don’t go to the Akron Beacon Journal website nor the Plain Dealer’s to read the front page.  Unless I pay for it and have it delivered to my front door, I just don’t seem to see the relevance.

When we did get a daily paper delivered, I found I was reading a lot more. I read the front section- at least the titles, and skimmed through the section about local art, fashion, food, and events. I rarely looked at sports and business. I did the crosswords.  I was better informed then.  At least I was not shocked when someone brought up the news of a local scandal or business closing.

Daily newspapers are losing revenues because their bread and butter- the classified ads- has disappeared. People, including me, use Craigslist to advertise. It is free and effective.  Other ad revenue is down as well. As a person who uses my computer a lot, I understand what is happening. But, as proponents of the dailies point out, this format leaves out people who don’t have computers: the elderly and the poor.

As revenues disappear for newspapers some of the cuts come in laying off people to cover local news. It is bad enough that most cities have only one newspaper to cover this type of news. But when even those sole providers disappear, who will care about covering these types of goings on?

Opponents of the dailies say that there will be other formats for these types of news: bloggers and social media and specific websites will be there. True, but how many of us will be hunting around reading 3,4, or 5 five different websites to get a broad spectrum of the news?

I guess I’ve talked myself into taking a side. Everything changes, including how news is delivered. For now at least, serve me my news with a click of a button and a cup of coffee.