Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Lovesick for Newsprint

Juan Carlos Perez writes:

All my life I have loved newspapers. In elementary school, when we had free time in class, I would fold sheets of paper and make my own rudimentary tabloids. Crafting a newspaper gave me great joy for reasons I couldn't explain or understand -- it was a very strong and instinctive attraction. In the 1970s and 1980s, my hometown -- San Juan, Puerto Rico -- had multiple daily newspapers. My parents subscribed to three of them, and the mere sight of these dailies at our doorstep gave me great pleasure. I loved them as products, like I loved my bicycle, my basketball, my baseball mitt, my Tonka trucks and my Matchbox cars.

Unsurprisingly, I became a journalist. I learned the trade in the early 1990s, a handful of years before the Internet became mainstream. Although I have written primarily for the Web since 1995, I always considered the daily print newspaper the core component of journalism, despite the mounting evidence to the contrary in recent years.

Two days ago, I hit a tipping point. I stopped being a holdout. I felt guilty, as I flipped through the Herald, admitting to myself that a print newspaper is an obsolete, inefficient product, and that it will soon disappear for good, because we're running out of reasons to keep it around.

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