Thursday, 7 June 2012

A defence of the printed newspaper by a self-confessed Newspaper addict


Just sometime back, I came across a story about how the publishers of a daily newspaper in the U.S. had decided to print the newspaper only thrice a week as this would help reduce the cost of printing, cost of paper, and the cost of logistics. The story in leading English daily went on to state that immediately after this newspaper announced this decision, other newspapers across the country jumped the bandwagon and followed suit! For a chronic news paper addict this would be a rather a very big setback and disappointment! 


When I am at home, there is always a rush to get hold of the newspaper as soon as it lands at the door step! Often it becomes a matter of first come first served, and at times there might even be arguments about who got to read the newspaper first. At times a compromise is arrived and while one gets to read the main newspaper, the other gets to read the magazine! The day the newspaper is not delivered a feeling of déjà vu pervades while we all look for the missing newspaper behind flower pots, nooks and crannies! Very much the same happens when I stay back at my In Laws’ home, where another newspaper is subscribed to! Often in homes which assiduously subscribe to daily newspapers, a specific pecking order is followed, with lesser ones on the ladder of hierarchy hanging on for their turn to get their hands on the newspaper. Breakfast is often an occasion when the lead articles in the newspaper are often discussed, often leading to a dissection of core issues and much taking of sides, and at times this discussion would lead to arguments! 


In most homes across the country especially in joint families it is the newspaper that binds everyone together, and this would get affected if newspapers were to be printed only thrice a week! Nothing apparently can beat the unique experience of holding the crinkling newspaper sheet in your hands, the feel of the texture of the paper, and sometimes the scent of the ink in the print becomes a unique unifying experience that few would like to fore go! I am told that soon all newspapers will be available on the Kindle, but then the kindle would be an individual gadget, something private and personal while the printed newspaper is something to be shared, and something which provides for a common experience!


 I have often observed how daily commuters who travel by train or buses and who carry their newspapers with them have more friends from among the daily commuters, and they are more popular, and more likely to get a seat albeit shared! Often in such conditions, the newspaper is shared page wise, so while one friend gets the front page, another gets the third page, while yet another, the sports enthusiast would get the sports section of the newspaper! Imagine how dull and boring it would be if you had to travel for three days without that magical printed newspaper which brought you smiles, friends, and that shared seat, and made the trip more interesting, what with having to collect all those pages before the destination!

The versatility of the printed newspaper far outweighs the effectiveness of the online version! In a country which has banned the use of polythene bags, effective recycling has offset the need for polythene carry bags with paper bags. Imagine recycling a Kindle or I-Pad or even a tablet-P.C. to make paper bags! Moreover on long drives, it makes good sense to carry a newspaper with you. You could use it to block sunlight streaming in through the car window, it can be used to wrap fruits in, it can be used to wipe your hands on, and well of course, you could always return to that article you were reading, well that depends on whether the road is smooth or not!