Goodbye, Print News. I Held On As Long As I Could

For the first time in my life, I no longer have a local newspaper delivered to my home.

I know. What took so long?

This has been a gradual weaning. In recent years, it has just been a Sunday experience. But this was the way I was raised (by readers who were raised the same way, by readers who were presumably raised the same way) and for many years, it was something I truly enjoyed and relied upon. I even started my days with the paper when I lived in a college fraternity house.

Now, every day, to stay as informed as I feel like I need to be, it means starting the day with more screen time. I’ll get used to it. The news business wants me to. This has absolutely nothing to do with journalists. It’s the business side that apparently has no interest in printing and delivering the news that way, even just for one day a week.

Case in point: my recent bill. For an 8-month billing cycle and online access seven days a week, with Sunday home delivery, the total was $300+. That included $84 in “additional charges” (no explanation) and a $5 fee for a paper bill. That paper bill included an ad for the Life Alert bracelet (really). So that’s about $450 per year. Or, more than twice as much as a New York Times digital subscription. The cost-benefit analysis just doesn’t make sense, especially when I found out I could have full digital access to the local “newspaper” for $14.99 per month, or more than half as much annually as the full digital access plus one-day home delivery. It just didn’t make sense to get the delivery anymore.

Make no mistake, online news is convenient and invaluable. That is why between our company’s and my personal subscriptions, I have paid access to 10 local, regional and national news sources. But there is just something about news in print.

I still miss getting Sports Illustrated in the mailbox on Thursday evenings and will miss the paper on the driveway on Sunday mornings. But when I care more than the giant stockholder-owned national publishing company in the business of producing the product, which used to be “selling newspapers,” then it’s time to move on.

There are still viable options for a print fix. I’m privileged to live in a community that boasts one of the nation’s best public libraries, which gets in new, printed books every month. Not far away, a new location of an independent bookstore chain just opened. May I not have to write a post about its demise any year soon.