I bet that if you are under 30, you do not have the newspaper delivered to your place of residence unless you still live with your mommy. Nor do you go to a drug store or supermarket to buy the paper. If you want to read what is going on, you pull out your iphone or blackberry and read it online. Or, you sit at your computer at work or home, go on the internet and surf news sites.
Now, tell me that I am wrong. Of course, you could be old-fashioned and actually read a hardcopy of your favorite newspaper. As for me, the old fuddy duddy- I no longer subscribe to a paper or even buy one at a store. The only time I pick one up is when I go to my parent’s house or a friend’s. Otherwise, I get my news fix by going to the least objectionable website that gives me the news, sports, whatever.
What do I mean by “least objectonable”? I’m not talking editorial content and persuasion, but how long it takes my browser and internet connection to bring up the site and click into the information. I have no patience for wading through screens that take awhile to load with a whole bunch of ads. Nor do I want to wade through tens and even hundreds of comments that are most likely spam and not relevant to the purpose of the article just read.
Back in the 1950’s and 60’s, there was no internet and like everyone else, I had to wait to get a hold of a newspaper to see a boxscore of a sports event, or even the latest installment of a comic strip. I’d go to a corner newsstand which was a wooden shack. The city of Chicago permitted these and licensed them out. My mother would sometimes send me to go get the paper and I would take a slow walk back home, sure to read the entire sports section. Otherwise, I would not get to see the paper so quickly as I was a low man in the pecking order.
The newsstand owner was protective of his investment and probably the payoff he had to give to city officials to protect his “cash” business. His stand stood just outside a drug store at the corner of Central and Madison in the Austin neighborhood of Chicago. The drug store was allowed to sell newspapers only when his stand was closed up for the day.
A daily newspaper cost seven cents and the Sunday edition of the Sun Times or Tribune cost 10 cents. The evening papers- there were a total of four dailies in Chicago then- the American (later the Today) and the Daily News did not issue Sunday editions. Their Saturday paper had the color comics, separate tv listing guide and tons of advertisements and also cost 10 cents. There was a big furor when the prices went up to 10 cents daily and 15 cents on weekends. The newsstand guy did not like or intend to give out change. If you gave him 10 cents on a weekday, he would give you a look that said, “get lost!” if you waited for your three cents change.
The Sun Times was for the Democrats and less conservative readers. Back then, liberal was not only not a dirty word but no one even thought to use it. The Tribune was for the wealthier and Republican. The Sun Times had Kup’s Column. Irv Kupcinet had been an NFL referee and later teamed up as a color analyst with Jack Brickhouse to do the Bears games. But all it ever seemed that Kup would say was, “That’s right, Jack.” Kup also had a very popular late night Saturday talk show on tv where just about every celebrity passing through town would make sure to drop in and chat with Irv. There was also Ann Landers dispensing advice to the lovelorn.
If you didn’t read the paper on a certain day, you lost the opportunity to catch what your favorite columnist had to say. Unless, of course, your friend or neighbor kept a copy of the paper. Today, newspapers with an online presence provide a 24 hour service recognizing that readers all over the world at different times of the day just may want to check them out.
Today, I do not need a newspaper to catch a boxscore. I can get my favorite NBA basketball team’s latest game’s details from at least three different websites any time I want, even going back several days. That’s called progress.
So, I ask you- whaddaya think? If you’re under 30- when was the last time you read the obituaries in a hard copy newspaper? Or looked at the comics?
If you take the train to work, do you bring along a newspaper or do you look at your iphone or blackberry and view the news online? as the guy lying in the gutter in that Dirty Harry picture said, “I gots ta know”.