The pleasures of newsprint

Of course I’m biased when it comes to extolling the virtues of newspapers over getting the same information on the internet. But a podcast of The Tony Kornheiser Show just served as a reminder.

For those of you who don’t know him, Kornheiser was an acerbic columnist for The Washington Post (think Dave Barry without the non-sequitors) until he turned his full attention to sports with ESPN’s Pardon the Interruption and other projects. He was the third broadcaster for Monday Night Football for the past few years, replaced this season by Jon Gruden.That’s okay, though; Kornheiser was always complaining about the travel (he hates to fly).

Kornheiser is one of my all-time favorites. He comes across as a cranky  old guy (even thirty years ago), but with a soft side. Some of his best columns were the ones he wrote about his family, including his son and daughter and his elderly father.

But I digress.

Kornheiser and his crew were discussing an article in the Post about the Washington Redskins (this particular incarnation of his radio program is carried by the local ESPN affiliate in DC).

Newspapers like the Post and the Times are printed as “broadsheets,” large papers folded in the middle; publications like the New York Post, on the other hand, are “tabloids”. The important stories are printed “above the fold,” so they’re sure to catch the eyes of readers too lazy to flip the paper.

Kornheiser complained that this particular story, which he and his colleagues considered important, was printed below the fold. So that got me to thinking about the differences between a newspaper you hold in your hands versus the internet editions.

It might be convenient to get your news on your laptop or Blackberry, but to me, you lose something. I believe uou’re more apt to browse a bit more with newsprint, flipping through the pages, scanning the top couple of paragraphs, rather than just headline links on-line. And, again, this may be a generational thing, but there’s just so much stuff on a newspaper website. Many of them are cluttered with too many links, too many ads, and not enough actual information. It might take several clicks to get to a story I want (which they publications are counting on for the stats/ad rates/etc.), while I can lick my thumb, turn a few pieces of paper, and get what I want.

By the way, it took three clicks to get to the Redskins story.

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  • A reluctant welcome

    It’s no secret what’s going on the field of print journalism. It’s going into the crapper. I wonder if Mr. Internet realized this would happen when he invented the World Wide Web. Regardless, the situation is here and we’re stuck with it. The purpose of this blog is to blow off a little steam, and I invite my fellow ink-stained wretches to join in with their own tales of woe or triumph. Maybe this will turn into a nice little support network. Questions? Suggestions? E-mail me at worriedjournalist(at) gmail(dot)com.
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