Saturday, January 17, 2009

Grey Lady

I just washed newsprint off my hands, recovering from my latest bout with Saturday's New York Times. Hands down the best paper of the week for those in NYC, because we get the NYT Magazine and the Book Review a day early, jammed in the middle of the thick stack of Saturday goodness.

This love for the weekend NYT is making me sad at the moment, thanks to the hard-to-ignore decline of the newspaper industry.

Why does someone so technologically savvy care, you might ask? Because today I learned about the potential cease-fire in Gaza, the heroes of the Miracle on the Hudson and the play-by-play of the day's events, why Will Ferrell decided to take on W on Broadway, how the producers of Lost keep track of the storylines, how a Ponzi scheme from the early '90s is tied to Madoff, the controversy surrounding Andrew Wyeth, why people are throwing eggs and rocks in Lithuania, how black men portrayed on film may have opened doors for Obama, what's happening with Gitmo, how two stars from Weeds are faring on the stage, why the US might be accused of war crimes, which books Caroline Kennedy is most famous for and how her father took on Gov. Wallace over integration... honestly I could go on and on.

Don't get me wrong, I love love love the internet. But it never would have been able to hold my attention on solely the news for this long. I would have been distracted by emails, tweets, ims, ads, wandering thoughts, who knows what. And I would have ended up wasting half the day without realizing where it went, instead of consciously spending it learning valuable information from trusted sources, in order to become a smarter and a more interesting person. It could just be my personal undisciplined surfing habits, yes, but I really don't think so. There's something about reading online that is amazing and convenient and so completely easy, and also incredibly distraction-filled and not fulfilling.

I wouldn't trade for anything. But at the same time, I can't spend more than about a half hour reading on Slate without ending up searching for song lyrics, checking my work email, or Facebook stalking.

I never want my internet taken away from me. It's the best invention ever. But I never want my newspapers taken from me either. Can't we all just get along?

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