Saturday, May 02, 2009

Out of Print?

This evening while hanging out with my dad, the subject of newspapers came up. Each day, he get's a copy of the Charleston Gazette delivered to his room with breakfast, and he was wondering why they would give him the paper. We talked about how the newspaper would give patients something to read, and a way to keep up on local news.

Then, my brother in law Ray started talking about how the Parkersburg News was doing away with its evening edition as a result of declining subscriptions. There'sjus a lot of stuff folks can get online these days I guess. At the same time, it means a decline in a number of jobs. From printers to paper factories, and even down to paper carriers, there are a number of people who make their living from the printed newspaper. (Of course photographers and journalists can still publish online, but the folks who work behind the scenes have their livelihood from the printed word).

Here's an article that looks at the environmental/energy impact of both. Given that most people spend less than 30 minutes reading the paper, it looks like reading online wins out for energy consumption.

Another article explains that while most newspapers are declining in circulation, slight increases in printing costs are keeping them within their budget.

One of the largest factors for declining circulation cited was a decrease in advertisements through the news. I guess more and more people are advertising online, and news covereage is becoming more competitive. While perusing this subject I found the Newspaper Death Watch website. The site heralds the advent of a new generation of journalism as newspaper offices close their door.

But what about the old paper boy? What's he supposed to do? This is a healthy first job that requires discipline and responsibility. You learn to dress for the elements, and you get plenty of exercise. According to this story most kids have enough pocket money from mom and dad that they don't need to work--especially at a paper route.

Think about this story too. It's simply not safe to be on foot and alone in many urban areas whether you are a child or an adult.

Our world is changing so quickly, and there are so many areas of life that are radically interwoven. Health, safety, newspapers, jobs, and the environment . . . and much much more.

What do you think about declining newspaper sales? is it a good thing or a bad thing?

And more importantly, how would my sister get her daily dose of sudoku? ;)

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