Newspapers – More Like Nuisance-papers (I am so sorry…)

This post is about how I do not enjoy reading traditional print newspapers. (Gosh, talk about kicking an industry while it’s down…) I prefer to read my news on screens, be it phones, tablets or laptops.

Here are some reasons why:

  • Cost. I would rather suffer online ads than spend a loonie for the physical thing, which also has ads.  After all, I tend only to buy reading material I want to collect – and my paper mache days are behind me. (This is an obvious, unexciting reason, but still important.)
  • Ease of use. This is a big factor. Trying to read traditional, folding newspaper – the ones that fold out to the size of a small continent (feel free to add the formal term for them in the comments, if you know it off the top of your head – is it broadsheets?) – can be cumbersome to read. Sections fall out, strange creases develop, and everybody standing next to you on a packed subway car is looking at you like you’re a demon when you try to expand it and fold it over to a new section (an reaction to which I’m sympathetic). Even after I cull out the “Sports” section, a weekend newspaper is not ideal for travelling. I think it’s telling that non-traditional newspapers like NOW and 24 and Metro are bound like magazines, making them much more user friendly insofar as they are travel friendly. But even those publications are gigantically cumbersome compared to a reading surface that fits in the palm of your hand for consuming news during rush hour on the TTC. That’s why I prefer to read news on my smartphone.
  • I sometimes get ink smudges on my hands and then they get all over my face – alas…

One thought on “Newspapers – More Like Nuisance-papers (I am so sorry…)”

  1. David,

    This post made me laugh! I was thinking about the interesting implications of different newspaper layouts. The typical example (say the Globe and Mail) is printed in a broadsheet style, like you say, and this means that it has very particular constraints and guides as to where articles will fall. News design is a really interesting topic, as it covers issues like what news is most ‘important’ and how do consumers read news, and why? What is especially interesting about publications like Metro is that they follow a tabloid-style layout, smaller, more easily consumed and thus, some might say, less ‘serious’ – there certainly is an implication about the space a traditional newspaper takes up, and those who decide to persist reading it (even on the subway), despite its inconveniences.

    On a different note, I am surprised by my own deep felt attachment to print newspapers, and I think it has a lot to do with nostalgia. My grandparents always loved the Globe and Mail, they would read it voraciously – my Grandma did the Cryptic Crossword every week (and even won an award for her skill!), and I have memories ever since I was a very small child of seeing them sharing the newspaper. They struck me as exceptionally wise, worldly people. They grew up in a time when marriages were announced in the paper (as theirs was) and my Grandmother’s obituary was placed in the Globe and Mail. My Grandfather, who is a seriously tech-savvy person, now reads it on his tablet, and it just doesn’t seem right to me. I am reminded in this way that newspapers can be a very intimate piece of print – somehow more personal than books, as they seem to also share our stories and hold them.

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