Saturday, June 22, 2013

The Way of the Dodo

So, the word out from The Oregonian, our local newspaper, is that they just fired almost a hundred people and will cut home distribution to four days a week–Wednesday, Friday, Saturdays and Sunday, filling in the other days with a digital version for subscribers. You can still trundle on over the newsstand (read: Safeway, there being no newsstand around here) and buy copies on the other three days.

Like watching the old films of the Hindenburg as it burns and crashes: O the humanity! Cue the theme from The Titanic ...

End of an era. Move over, dinosaurs. Hello, Mr. Dodo!

Digital papers make money, print ones tend not to so much, although it sounds as if the Big O was actually still making a nice profit when they decided to toss out the staff and piss off the readers. One of the first to go was the only liberal columnist they had.  (I find it telling that they will still deliver to some places, including some nursing homes. Says a lot about the readership, doesn't it?)

For years, my daily routine included getting up, pouring a cup of coffee and reading the morning paper, maybe even tackling the crossword puzzles. 

I've slipped into the digital age, I read a lot on my computer and iPad–magazines, books–but the experience of reading a newspaper spread out on the table isn't going to be replicated by anything electronic, unless we get a computer table and they lay out the e-version differently than the one the Big O is currently fielding. Which is one of the most difficult documents to access you can imagine.

More than a couple times, I've seen something in the paper that I wanted to show to somebody. Finding it in the e-version is like looking for a particular grain of sand on the beach. Searches you'd expect to locate it don't. I know it's there, know where it should be, but it isn't. Intuitive, it ain't.

Reading a paper online doesn't let you scan and skip the way it does with newsprint scattered hither and yon. And there are a lot of places to get e-news that are laid out better than The Oregonian does it. Comcast/Infinity's splash page is fine for headlines. And anything of substance shows up on FaceBook with links ...

I'm not sure what I'm going to do, but they may be losing a long-time customer. I'm waiting to see what they tell me when the paper stops showing up.

Got to go. I can't find my buggy whip. Maybe it's behind the typewriter in the closet ...


Cliff said...

Advance Publications has done/will do that to every paper they own. They did it to the New Orleans paper. Now the locals call it the Some-Times-Picayune.

wim said...

Hi Steve,
Posting this here because I didn't find an email address for you:

Read the comment on my review. The guy just came onto my Facebook page trying to save my soul. You're probably next. :-)

Have fun,


Steve Perry said...

Wim --

Thanks for the review, I appreciate it.

Yeah, I got a FB note from the guy, allowing as how I need to get right with God.

Here's what I said in reply:

Hey, Dwight? I don't begrudge you your beliefs. I'm not interested in the opinion of somebody who a) obviously hasn't read the collection but still feels qualified to comment, and b) feels a righteous need to tell other people they should follow his path. My relationship to God is my business; how about you mind your own?

steve-vh said...

Dropped my local paper subscription about a year ago, had subscribed for like 20 years. Why? well, I'd had it with their biased local sports coverage but mostly because they were publishing less and charging significantly more. Each paper became progressivly less pages and then I realized the actual dimensions were gradually shrinking as well. I understand the economic pressures and all but I couldn't justfy the $16 month for a daily paper I could scan in 5-10 minutes max. I was done reading it before I'd finised my oatmeal.

wim said...

My pleasure, I enjoyed the Roy stories a lot. I hope you get back to him one day.

Good answer to the guy. Some people... I guess it takes all kinds but a limited quantity of some would be nice.