Do You Still Get a Paper?

Southeast Missourian under car 10-14-2006While looking for a picture I had taken on one of our vacations back to Cape, I ran across this 2006 picture of a Missourian under my van. Who knows why I shot it? Maybe I wanted to gripe if it was a pattern.

That got me thinking about my changing newspaper habits. When I used to go on a road trip, Wife Lila would give me a $10 roll of quarters to drop in newspaper vending machines outside motels and eateries along the way. I gradually stopped doing that when dinky dailies wanted a buck or more for 12 pages of mostly advertising and press releases.

I realized the other day that I left West Palm Beach on March 17, and, so far as I can remember, haven’t bought a single paper along the way. Even when I was in motels that gave them away free, I didn’t bother to grab one from the lobby.

Still a news junkie

Papers for Ken's Paper Route
Papers for Ken’s Paper Route 1961

Don’t get me wrong, I’m still a news junkie. When I get up in the morning, I check for email and Facebook messages, then I turn to the USA Today ap on my tablet (I’m not crazy about USA Today, but their ap is clean and easy to use). After that, I check out Google News. If I have a lot of time, I’ll visit Digg. The other day The New York Times offered me three months of digital access for $5. I’ll cancel it just before it jumps to five bucks a week.

I’ll dip into The Missourian’s website (which I pay for) and take a quick glance at The Palm Beach Post’s headlines.

Even with my employee discount, The Post subscription costs enough that Lila and I debate renewing it now that has become the Incredible Shrinking Newspaper. The other night I told her she could stop saving them up for me like she’s done on all my other trips. “I’ve already seen the world, state, and regional news and comics online, and I don’t care about who was shot or in a car wreck overnight.”

The Three Bs

Post Editor Eddie Sears used to say that newspapers would survive because of the Three Bs: Breakfast, Bathroom and Beach. I’m OK with the first two and never go to the beach, so I’m not so sure survival is in the cards.

16 Replies to “Do You Still Get a Paper?”

  1. The 3 “B’s in any meeting: Be Brief, Be Brilliant and Be gone.
    and no I do not get a paper any more…the TV and internet our my sources today. I get FREE Beacon weekly rag and that is it.

  2. I still receive the St. Louis Post-Dispatch each day, though a once-proud publication has been reduced to a thinly-veiled progressive rant with Pearl Harbor-like headlines over much less significant stories. It is also clear that the chair of the proofreader has long been empty. The sports page is a bit more objective and robust and the comics are stellar. Joseph Pulitzer is surely rolling in his grave. Enough said.

  3. This makes me sad. I started writing for our little hometown newspaper–The North Stoddard Countian–in 2001, and I’ve noticed such a decline. Mostly, they’ve cut staff to the bone and shrunk the paper (lack of advertising), but at 75 cents, it’s still a pretty good deal for local news that you can’t get online. I post stories on the website, when I think of it, but we still have older people who like to get a paper. If we’re late, because of a holiday–it’s Katy bar the door!! Neither Advance nor Bloomfield have a local office anymore, but I like it that way. Nobody can come complain! As you know, Ken, I love to travel and write “On the Road” stories from wherever I land! (Especially Florida!) Heaven forbid I stay in Stoddard County all the time!!

  4. What is lacking, inovation to do a story, and the lack of photography. The Commercial Appeal has stopped doing photo stories, And I noticed the Post Dispatch has as well, and to the asme extent the SouthEast Missourian is following suit.

    The print journalism is killing itself, by not presuing both print and on the line version a a publications

    I don’t know whois running papers these days,but who ever it is, is shooting it in the foot.

  5. As a kid growing up in the 50’s, in my parents’ house the same questions were ask daily: “Is the paper here yet? Did somebody bring in the paper?! Where’s the newspaper??!!” Only recently my 97-year-old mom “stopped taking the paper” – a major decision on her part as she had virtually read the Southeast Missourian everyday of her adult life.

  6. I don’t buy newspapers on road trips all that much anymore. But in a strange twist of events, I find myself actually looking for newspaper buildings instead. It’s something I though about doing, that might now be too late: a coffee table book on newspaper buildings. So many of them – big and small – are architectural marvels. Institutional. Hub of community. In smaller town they’re storefronts. The wonderful Art Deco buildings from the turn of the last century said so much about the industry at that time. Some of the old photos of the Seattle Times building circa 1920 you just can’t believe. Alas, they’re almost all gone. The Miami Herald near the airport? Yeah, that inspires nothing.

  7. We sort of still get a paper. We go out every Wednesday for the local weekly Gilmer Times-Courier and on Sundays for the Chattanooga Times Free Press. When we first moved here we subscribed to the Atlanta paper until they quit delivering to anyone, home or store outside of Greater Atlanta. Then we subscribed to the Chattanooga paper until they too quit delivering outside of Chattanooga. We can still get them from stores, though, and the Atlanta Constitution (affectionately known as the Atlanta Constipation) are now available in some of our stores.

  8. I have read at least one daily newspaper since I was a little girl….until April of this year. We subscribed to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch until they wanted $240.00 for renewal of an annual subscription!! There is less and less news and more and more White (blank) space. Years ago we subscribed to both the Post-Dispatch and the Globe Democrat and had mail delivery of the Southeast Missourian, all at the same time. I now catch what I can on the internet. I do miss holding that paper in my hand drinking my morning coffee but not that much! It should also be noted the St. Louis Post-Dispatch building is for sale. Times…they are a changing……

  9. I stopped subscribing to the Columbia Daily Tribune and the Kansas City Star for two reasons: too many wire stories and disagreeing with their editorial positions. I now receive only the Wall Street Journal, and that’s because I get it for free.

    I prefer print, partly because although I went to grad school for journalism, my career actually began five years earlier in the press room. But even that nostalgia wasn’t enough to convince me to continue paying for papers that were increasingly filled with analysis-free local stories and too many wire stories about news I already got from other outlets.

  10. We still take our local paper (a Rust Publication), delivered, that has been decreased to 3-times per week, used to be 5. It’s twelve pages, mostly ads, but good for what is going on in our little community. ,
    We also get the KC Star delivered 2-times per week still like to hold an actual paper although it is more narrower and thinner.

  11. I just receive the Wall Street Journal. Most comprehensive reporting, I can trust. The STL Post is liberal junk and all ads, the Missourian is three pages of ads. Most news I get from Cable TV and the internet with RSS feeds, otherwise.

  12. The Washington Post is still a good paper to get here in northern Virginia (if you want to hold one during morning coffee). Other big city papers I have seen, aside from the NY Times, not so much. My daughters and others of their generation, interested not at all … papers will all go the way of the buggy whip in their lifetime.

  13. Agree on Robert Price’s comments about the WSJ and other matters. The WSJ seems fairly objective, though leaning toward a more conservative business bias. I keep getting it if for no other reason than the Saturday edition which almost always has an in depth opinion piece in Section C about a subject general unrelated to politics. These are great journalism as well as teaching pieces even if the are opinions. They are typically laden with factual substantiations on all major themes and well worth the weekly read.

  14. I still love getting the Southeast Missourian. I think it’s a very nice hometown paper with a touch of national and world news. If I want to know what’s going on in the world, I turn on the tv.
    After scanning the front page, I turn to the Obits and then the Editor’s page with “Speak-Out” comments (which have certainly dwindled down to almost nothing). Then I go back to the front page and read the whole newspaper.
    When we lived in California, I even subscribed to the SEMissourian by mail.
    I’ve read a lot of newspapers from all over the US, but I still prefer our hometown newspaper from the way it is laid out, the interesting editorials and all the news about Cape and the surrounding area. I think the Missourian Staff does a great job.

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