#38. Sign of the Times
Saturday, October 13, 2018
Our little weekly hometown newspaper has announced its upcoming demise.
This paper, for decades, has been an important reporter on all the local news for the community -- including upcoming events, high school sports teams' performance, students achieving honors, engagements, weddings, births and deaths. Also, residents regularly contributed to public debates in town by writing letters to the editor.
Last year, this newspaper combined with the weekly publications of four surrounding towns, and many of us felt the loss of coverage for our town specifically.
Now, in a month, we will not have any newspaper at all.
Financially, it has been under water for too long; it can no longer be sustained.
On the same topic, there was a news report this week that the New York Times would one day abandon it's paper edition, and would be available only as an "e-paper".
(Ironic that the word 'paper' would remain in its definition.)
This change, of course, has been happening with books for quite a while now.
I, for one, am happy with the convenience of browsing through, purchasing, and reading books on my Kindle. (I am writing this blog on my Kindle.)
However, I also love the experience of shopping at Barnes and Noble bookstores. I buy loads of books as gifts for my grandkids. I read the books to them, and they read their books to me. It has given me great pleasure to share their Dads' -- my sons'-- favorite books with my grandkids.
Barnes and Noble stores have diversified to offer for sale many other products in addition to books, such as games and toys, audio and video products, and stationery. They also provide a cafe setting, where one can drink coffee with a pastry or have lunch while looking through their books. Too often, though, the books are put back on the shelf, rather than being purchased and taken home.
Barnes and Noble, as well as other surviving book stores, are also offering programs -- talks by authors and story sessions for children.
These book stores are competing with libraries. And many libraries that have not expanded their operations are also closing. (But that is another blog.)
Back at home here in my small town, we residents who no longer have a local newspaper, will have to rely on web sites to give us the town news.
And of course those web sites have been sprouting up regularly over the past several years. In fact, the millennials in town have probably been using them exclusively for several years now.
My friends and I, however, will miss our hometown newspaper.