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The Day The New York Times Stopped Coming

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So, Saturday was an average day. A plain ordinary morning. I went to the door, and it wasn't there. The Times was missing.

My first thought: a neighbor had taken it. That used to happen when
the guy who walked naked in front of his apartment lived down the hall,
but he's long gone. Then I glanced up and down, sure enough - the Times was missing from all the doors in the hall. Gone.

Now, this had been coming for a few days - first it was late, then
it was down in the lobby to be grabbed as I left for work. There was
some issue with the building and delivery. And as if in slow motion,
the Times moved further and further away from my door. Now, it is gone.

So, I didn't want to be a baby. After all, I've got a computer.
Well, the truth is my family has a lot of computers. We've got iPhones
with the Times app on them. We've got laptops. We've got a
desktop or three. So, what's the big deal? Ink on dead trees or zeros
and ones. Same thing, right?

So, I tried not to care. I just decided I'd pour myself a cup of coffee and read it online. Okay, sure. No problem.

But I couldn't do it in quite the same way. I clicked, and flipped,
and glanced, and read. But my eyes glazed over. I could 'browse' but I
couldn't read. Kind of like the way you flip through magazines at the
newsstand. Furtive glances on pages that you didn't pay for. But
reading? No way could I read in the same way.

The next day, the danger passed. The paper arrived on my doorstep.
And, to test my theory, I read yesterday's paper. Wow, there's so much
in there that I didn't get from my browsing online. More depth. New
stories (or so it seemed). More 'engagement' - a word the Web uses all
the time. Now maybe this is just a story of old habits dying hard.
Maybe a generation that grows up on the iPhone and the laptop will have
the same warm fuzzy feeling toward the paper at the door that I do.
Maybe.

Or maybe not.

I've always believed that the Times would be the Times - whatever the medium that delivered it. And in fact, I believed that the new digital Times would be better. More room, more depth, more video, more community, more good things.

But then, I had a day without the Times.

Now, I'm not so sure.

 

Originally Posted on "MediaBizBloggers"  at Steve Rosenbaum - MediaBizBloggers.