Tuesday, September 29, 2009

This book publicist wants her newspapers!

Rumors of newspapers' death have been greatly exaggerated. Daniel Lyons penned a Newsweek column, "Techtonic Shifts," in which he gloats about the demise of newspapers. Lyons would like to see newspapers die quickly so that we can all get our information online, and he boasts that he's already cancelled two of his newspaper subscriptions.

Well, Lyons may be right about one thing. Newspapers do appear to be on a downward spiral. More of us seem to be catching breaking news through the broadcast or online media, and an increasing number of people are using handheld devices to carry around with them all the information they'll need throughout the day. The role of newspapers is changing, and it would be impossible to deny that.

But a changing role doesn't necessarily mean death. The emergence of television didn't mean the death of radio. The coming of television didn't mean the death of film. Media find different niches as new media emerge, but that doesn't mean they become irrelevant or inconsequential. It just means their roles change, and we rely on them for different reasons.

I'm a huge fan of slowly reading the Sunday newspapers over a cup of coffee and breakfast. And, when I say "Sunday newspapers," I do mean the paper goods. I want to turn the physical pages, and I want to pull out the actual sections, and I want to clip actual articles. I've incorporated Sunday newspaper-reading into my Sunday ritual, and I would be bereft without that ritual. Sorry, but hauling my breakfast in front of a computer monitor, or laying my food out beside a hand-held gadget, just won't fill that void. This book publicist wants her newspapers!

I'll get some type of e-reader, eventually, and I do look forward to reading certain types of information on this gadget. But I don't think my e-reader, whatever type it turns out to be, will threaten my newspaper subscriptions. The price of my newspaper subscriptions might threaten my newspaper subscriptions -- that's a whole separate issue -- but, as long as newspaper subscriptions are affordable, I can justify them. And want them. And expect to continue them...and, certainly, do not expect to see the opportunity to enjoy them die just because pundits such as Lyons say they must.