Why we shouldn’t kill off the newspaper

Newspapers should not be allowed to die.

They may be as old as the hills, as old as the trees that gave their lives for newsprint, and they may represent technology that is almost prehistoric in today’s computerized world. But here’s why they should continue living.

My morning would cease to be good if newspapers no longer existed.

My dad always sat with a newspaper in the mornings and after work in his favorite chair. That was the best time to ask him for something I wouldn’t otherwise have gotten permission for. “Can I have a deadline extension for tonight?”

An ambiguous grunt was usually the answer. I interpreted this as a “yes.” The first thing I learned about newspapers and dads was that they go hand in hand, literally. One had to exploit this relationship.

Picking up your newspaper in the morning may be the only time you see or speak with your paper. It allows for a chance for real social interaction that a computer can only hope to do.

Waking up in the morning and reading the newspaper in your favorite chair (or throne) as you sip your coffee is relaxing, but it has a secondary purpose: It allows you to offer some comment in that early Monday morning meeting without having to surf through a multitude of Web sites.

You can read a newspaper in the loo in peace and quiet. You can’t say the same for balancing a laptop on your knee in the same place.

Remember the days when reading newspapers improved the state of language? I do. Why can’t we learn from them again? It’s not like we couldn’t stand to improve the language we use. In fact, why not promote them as part of a literacy movement?

Ever had fried fish and chips from a newspaper?

Or for those of us from India, had “bhel” on the roadside in a piece of newspaper with a piece of cardpaper serving as a makeshift spoon? Try doing that with an e-reader. It just won’t taste the same, I can guarantee you that. In fact, the e-reading device won’t stay the same either.

Newspapers recycle to form wrapping paper, kindling for fire and handy blotting paper for when I am reading, eating and drinking something while sitting at my computer. Wonderfully symbiotic, they aid new technology in novel methods.

Open up your laptop or iPhone and read the news on your commute to work. Now compare just picking up the newspaper and reading it on the same commute. You’ve just impressed the cute guy/girl with your brimming intellect and knowledge of current affairs with your choice of reading matter, all without a word.

Computers and the Internet are wonderful things that have brought so much to our lives. But sometimes simplicity allows for something that technology does not.

Newspapers carry the sense of solidity that written words convey. They bring history in the making to your doorstep and allow you to preserve the memory in a solid form that the virtual word can never do. They have use outside of the written word.

Newspapers have to move with the times, but we shouldn’t kick them out of our mornings.

Sonali Kudva is a graduate student in journalism and mass communication and a guest columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected].