So this morning while eating breakfast, I read the following in just one newspaper, the Wall Street Journal (a copy of which lands in our driveway every morning) (*1)
— a front page story about people who hate cilantro (Me? I love the stuff.)
— a long piece by science reporter Robert Lee Hotz on “radio astronomers,” scientists who hunt for extraterrestrial intelligence
— a report about sharp declines in consumer spending on food (not necessarily because people are eating less but because they’re finally figuring out that Hamburger Helper and Kellogg’s Sugar Flakes don’t, ya know, offer much dollar value….)
— a review of what sounds like a fascinating book, Sum: Forty Tales from the Afterlives
— an essay about Willie Nelson’s current passion: Western Swing. (He has a new album out titled “Willie and the Wheel.) (I’m a serious and decades-long fan of Willie Nelson. When he dies, Frank and Johnny are gonna have to make room for him on their bench next to god. I’m also a long-time fan of Western Swing and Bob Wills.) (*2)
— an article about Toyota’s cost-cutting measures, which are designed to reduce company expenses while protecting its employees’ jobs
My point? I got all of this in one convenient package, namely a “newspaper.” The one I read happened to be made of paper, but it would have been fine with me if I’d read it on some other “delivery” device (a Kindle, a laptop, whatever).
What mattered was that a single entity, the Wall Street Journal, delivered the content to me. Each piece was well-written and -research, and I didn’t have to roam all over the web to find them.
Yes, the web is stuffed to its e-gills with great stuff, and I’m not opposed to roaming around hunting for it. But I love that a “newspaper” delivers this content to my door, so to speak. I love the convenience. Which, now that I think of it, may not be much of a point.
But presumably you get my drift: As a mode of communication, “newspapers” have been successful for two centuries because they offer not just content, but a convenient way to access that content.
*1: As always, a caveat about the WSJ: there is no rhyme/reason to its website content. Some of it is free; some of it is not. Also, the WSJ has THE worst website of any major media organization on the planet. Truly, it’s awful. Last year, the company revamped the site, and the new version is a significant improvement over the old one, but it’s still, well, awful.
*2: A week or so ago, the Journal also ran a piece about the release of Bob Wills’ “Tiffany” recordings. You can read that here.