Friday, June 18, 2010

Newspaper Love


I haven't gotten the newspaper for YEARS. Still, one of my favorite memories is of curling up on my mom's big, king sized waterbed(!) (does anyone still have those??) on a Sunday morning and looking over all of my favorite parts of the paper with her and the occasional sibling that would join in.

My mom is a die-hard newspaper lover. She reads it through and works most of the puzzles on the puzzle page. Recently, when she was at her cabin in North Carolina, her S.O., Jerry, was saying that she was just about going crazy without her regular daily paper.

When I was first married I think we got the weekend papers. And for some reason, we really didn't read them enough to merit the environmental impact our subscription caused.

We've never had the paper since moving to FL. I have just not thought of us as a "newspaper family." My husband reads CNN online in the mornings and I listen to NPR pretty regularly when I have opportunities in the car. When major stories are happening, I turn to The News Hour on PBS, but there are many days when I just don't get the news and I'm okay with that too.

Of late, though, I've been wanting more local information than what news headlines will bring me and more regional information than what the little free weekly paper delivers. Mostly, I'm interested in things to do and feeling more connected to the local culture. I really like our alternative press, Creative Loafing, for fun things to do. But, being the alternative press, there is often more vulgarity in it than I care to look at or have to sift through. I don't dislike it because of this, but I just have to know what I'm potentially getting when I pick one up.

The city newspaper has seemed so inviting to me of late for all of these reasons. Also, my girls have been getting Weekly Reader for the past 2 years as part of our homeschooling. Maia is going to be a highschool freshman this year and I'm thinking that reading a real paper is probably the better choice for us this year.

So last week I biked down to the entrance of our subdivision and picked up two papers to compare. I enjoyed sitting on the floor, slowly leafing through and comparing the two papers. I liked getting up and walking away to make lunch and coming back to read a little more or attempt a puzzle for a few minutes (I am NOT patient with puzzles other than deductive reasoning puzzles, which I LOVE!) here and there.

I learned that extras were needed for a small-budget film that was being shot Saturday night, so while I was at the raw food book signing event with Ani Phyo, Paul took the girls and our neighbor over to the "movie set". They had to do a lot of waiting around and had only a brief passerby shot that may or may not end up in this little movie, but it was fun for them, something they'd never done before, educational, in that they saw how a movie could be shot, and it'll be something I'm sure they'll always remember.

We could not have found that information out anywhere else, I don't think.

I picked up a paper yesterday too, because they have the weekend section in it - things that are coming up, places to go, things to see and do that I might not have known about. I'm thinking about the Wednesday paper too, because they have the "Taste" section those days and it features the syndicated column, "The Amish Cook" which I just love to read, because I really am a sucker for the Amish in a lot of ways.

I think Tuesdays have some sort of education section for kids too. Surprisingly, I don't think I would get the weekend paper. I'm not a coupon user, because I don't get many packaged foods to begin with and am not a name brand shopper. I don't really like any of the sale flyers either. I don't usually care to shop much at the big box stores as it is. It doesn't mean I don't ever do it, it just means that I don't need a whole stack of flyers every week to look through.

I find myself feeling oddly affectionate toward the paper and the reporters. I like how they provide maps and numbers to find more information. I know this is so ridiculous. I know it's their job, but I feel like saying, "thank you." Thank you for providing me so much information here. Thanks for the thoroughness of your stories. Thanks for the community connection.

So, I'm not sure yet. I'm enjoying stopping by and picking up a paper when I want it. I don't think fifty cents goes as far anywhere else! Come the school year, though, I may not have as free of a schedule and if I want the kids to engage in regular current events reading, we may end up figuring out some sort of delivery schedule.

Over the past couple of years I have listened to stories from journalists lamenting their jobs changing so drastically and newspapers being shut down or gobbled up by big conglomorates. I have seen the subscription extras to gain subscribers: "A free tank of gas with every subscription" when gas prices were particularly high is one I remember. I have wondered if there is a place for the newspaper in our futures? Well, if the past few days have shown me anything, I really hope there is.
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