When I was growing up, my parents subscribed to two daily newspapers. In the morning, The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette was delivered. In the evening it was The Pittsburgh Press. My older brother had a paper route that got him out of bed before dawn. He taught me to fold the paper so that it could be thrown accurately from the sidewalk (in half horizontally, and then each outer third to the middle, tucking one into the other). My recollection is that he quit shortly after receiving his Christmas tips, but that's another story.
All that is to say that newspapers have always been a presence in my life. Today we subscribe to two daily papers, both delivered in the morning, thrown haphazardly from a car window in their plastic sleeves and landing somewhere between the sidewalk and our front steps.
During the week, I compulsively read them both. Even if it is late and I am retaining nothing of what I read, I turn every page before I turn off the light. On Sundays, reading the paper is pure pleasure. Peter and I dawdle over breakfast, each with our usual order of sections, often quoting news tidbits to each another. It is a sacred ritual.
But a ritual that may be coming to an end. To quote a recent newspaper article. "the public appetite for printed news has vanished." I had been concerned about this for a while as I watched papers shrink in both page size and number of pages. And recently our neighbors revealed that they had cancelled their papers and now read them on two laptops at their breakfast table.
The worst indication of the forthcoming demise of print newspapers is the closing of the 53-year-old "Out of Town News" kiosk which is the landmark of Harvard Square. Not that I regularly went there to buy Le Monde or some such paper, but just knowing that I could, was a comfort.
Have I ever read a newspaper online? Yes. Do I like doing so? No.
Am I a dinosaur?