Do you read the newspaper anymore?
It's a question I often ask myself. As a member of the print media for more than a decade, I have more than just a passing interest in the matter. I have many, many friends and acquaintances who are in or were part of the newspaper industry. It's actually quite sad to see the state of said industry, and sad to think that the future of newspapers is bleak.
At our house, we are loyal newspaper readers. Our local paper might not always have the types of investigative or thought-provoking stories the LATs or NYTs of the world have, but it's got plenty to keep us informed. Now, I do get a lot of my news online, as many others do. I have some e-mail alerts set up for some topics I enjoy plus I'm always checking my blackberry for different things, news updates one of them. Mrs. LB, though, prefers to get informed via the 'paper.
While it's a bit pricey sometimes, the newspaper is a fixture in our house and not just because my picture appears in there once a week.
As a newspaper reader, I like to peruse other newspapers. When I was in college, one of my favorite things to do was to get copies of the PE, the LA Times and the USA Today, and I'd read them all in between classes. Things have changed of course with the advent of blogs, news Web sites and the like.
While the newspaper industry isn't what it once was, the net can provide us some glimpses of things in various newspapers we couldn't see before.
This is one of my favorite Web sites. This site has the front pages of hundreds of newspapers across the country and the world. It's fun sometimes to peruse papers in other states and see what makes headlines. For instance, after Alabama won the college football championship earlier this season, I checked out the Alabama papers and saw how much coverage they gave the event (quite a bit of it). After Tennesssee college football coach Lane Kiffin quit and joined USC, the Tennessee papers had front-page coverage of the happenings. College football is a big deal in the South, and the papers reflect it.
It's also interesting to check out papers from around the world. I'm a big soccer fan, so whenever there is a big game I'll check out the papers from the respective country where the game took place and usually without fail it's on the front page. Sometimes I can't understand what is being written but it's still cool to check out the headlines.
It's also interesting to see what passes as societal norms in some countries. England's newspapers tend to have huge headlines, like SCANDAL BREAKS OUT IN PARLIAMENT or something, but in like a huge, huge type. Not sure how that reflects on the UK or whatever, but the papers look a bit tabloidish sometimes, more than the papers here (though New York papers can be like that). Also, German paper Bild usually publishes some sort of racy picture - typically a topless woman - on the front page. I think that might be a way to sell more papers here, to have a similar display on the front page. I kid, of course. I didn't realize Bild did that until I was scanning the German papers for something and then I was like "Whoa there, what's that?" I took German in college and can understand it a bit, so I like to check out the German papers because I can actually tell what's going on sometimes, unlike say papers in Russia or the Netherlands or the Middle East.
Sometimes it's depressing to see papers elsewhere. Sometimes there are some horrible headlines, like murder or some other mayhem, and that is usually a downer. But still, perusing papers from across the country and the world is always an interesting experience.
Usually the news is of course different in different places. What's front-page news in one county might not even make the A section in another. Sometimes I'll try to see if some big event in the US attracts interest overseas, but there was only one news story in the last eight or nine months or so that I saw made every single front page, and that was Michael Jackson's death. Some papers had their entire front page dedicated to that while others had just a picture and a few words. Most of the foreign papers had a picture or two or three and a story to go with.
Anyway, just some observations I felt like sharing. If you check out the site, you might not see a high number of papers today or Sunday, since some papers don't apparently publish on Saturday and/or Sunday.