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Should you feel ashamed for reading the hard copy newspaper?

Photo by Arik Hanson

Every so often, I’ll see it in one of my social feeds: That comment or remark from a friend, colleague or industry person taking jabs at the hard copy newspaper and those that read it.

It’s not surprising. We’ve all read the headlines, after all.

Newsprint is dead.

Twitter and Facebook are the new newsfeeds.

Other news sites are siphoning traffic from traditional media sites.

Heck, some are even getting their news from Instagram (see how NowThis News is “breaking” news now).

But, I can’t help it. I still love my hard copy newspaper.

And I shouldn’t feel ashamed to read it.

In fact, I would like to flip the popular thinking: Instead of asking “why would I read the daily newspaper? ask yourself: Why AREN’T I reading my daily newspaper?

If you WERE to read your daily newspaper, you would:

Actually touch and feel it — you know, like in your hands

It’s the same reason I won’t switch to an e-reader. I love holding the paper in my hand and reading it. Call me a romantic, but that’s one of the biggest pieces for me.

Learn from people who know what the hell they’re talking about

Those that poo-poo print newspapers claim they can get their news elsewhere on the web. But, where exactly are they getting that news? And, more importantly, who is creating it? One of the things I appreciate most about my local paper is that they hire and employ professional journalists. People with ethics. People who are trained in journalism. People who (hopefully) care about the community they live in. You’re not getting that from Buzzfeed, Upworthy or any other site where you’re getting your daily news. Especially not that third point.

Learn about LOCAL news — you know, that place where you live?

Sure, I can read about Ebola or ISIS on or any number of other media outlets that may cover that news better than the Star Tribune. But, one of the only places I can get local news coverage is my local newspaper. And, that has value to me. Because I live in Minneapolis. I want to know what’s going on here. With our park. With our politics. With our schools. The Star Tribune covers all that ground —and I don’t see a lot of options locally that can deliver that information in one place.

Enjoy Sunday mornings like never before

One of my favorite things to do on Sunday mornings is to read the paper on our porch with my wife over a cup of coffee. And, I’m hardly alone on this one. Again, romanticism plays in a bit, as I grew up watching my parents to the very same thing. But, it is truly one of my favorite things. The Sunday paper is chock-full of goodness. And, it’s really just a great way for my wife and I to relax, while expanding our horizons. Now, you can definitely do this with an iPad. No question. But let’s face it–it just ain’t the same.

Accidently expand your horizons

One of the best things about reading the paper is it’s NOT hyper-personalized to you. Therefore, you will discover a few things that aren’t hyper-targeted at your specific interests and niches. For me, that means exploring the travel section each Sunday. Or, it might mean sifting through the book reviews. Or, reading an interesting editorial on a topic I don’t usually read about. Whatever the case, that notion of falling into content accidentally and discovery is one of the things I love most about the paper.

Now, I know the print newspaper has its downsides. Oh yes, I hear about those ALL the time. So, OK, let’s take a look at those perceived downsides. Let’s see just how bad they really are.

So, if we believe the naysayers, if I read the print newspaper I will:

Miss out on ‘breaking news’

By the time the hard copy Star Tribune hits my stoop each morning at 5 a.m., much of that news is “old” for many thanks to Twitter and Facebook. But, consider I sit down to read the paper at about 7 am each day. How much has happened between yesterday afternoon and 7 a.m. this morning? At least, news that I absolutely have to have? Keep in mind, for the majority of those hours, I’m sleeping. Do I really need to consume news the moment it happens? For my job, at times, yes. But, by and large, no. And, I would argue most people don’t need to consume news at this torrid pace either.

Single-handedly kill the Amazon rainforest

OK, so you got me here. I do have a stack of old newspapers in my living room. I have another stack near my bed. But you know what? We recycle. So, I really don’t feel that badly about this one. Note: I also recycle plastic, glass and other paper, so take that newspaper naysayers! 

Trust the media less and less

We’ve all read this headline–especially when it applies to millennials. But, my question is “Why?” Why do people distrust the media? I mean, I get it when we’re talking about CNN and Fox News to an extent. But, you really distrust your local newspaper? Here in Minneapolis, the Star Tribune has been labeled a left-sided media outlet, which may or may not be fair. But, political affiliations aside, they also report on the news. Each and every day. And, they’re trained journalists. So, that means they’re paid to do a job professionally. And I believe they do that well, each and every day. Do they have political biases that seeps in from time to time? Yep. But, they are human beings. That’s going to happen no matter what. Get over it. Again, for me, this goes back to value. The Strib provides a value to me. They may be biased at times, which may impact their credibility just a bit. But, by and large, I trust them to do the job they are tasked with–to deliver the news and inform the community around them. Why wouldn’t I trust them? What agenda are they really trying to sell me?

Yearn for interactive content

Here’s another millennial slam on print newspapers–no “interactive” content. OK, you got me again. You’re not going to see a YouTube video pop up in your local paper. I mean, not until 2020 when that technology is invented  But you know what? Not EVERYTHING has to be interactive. Not EVERYTHING has to be personalized. Not EVERYTHING has to be on Instagram for God’s sake (and I love Instagram!). What’s wrong with sitting down each day, and you know, reading some text on a printed page that helps you become smarter and a better neighbor? What is wrong with that? No really, I’m asking you!

I’m really not a salesperson for the Star Tribune. They are not paying me for this post. I just continue to wonder why people continue to slam hard copy newspapers so much. Because I have yet to hear a legit argument for why you shouldn’t read it each and every day.

Can you help me find one? Let me know when you do — I’ll be reading my newspaper on the porch…

This post was written by Arik Hanson and originally published on Communications Conversations. Follow Arik on Twitter: @arikhanson.

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Comments (6)

  1. Submitted by Connie Sullivan on 10/29/2014 - 12:13 pm.

    A refreshing post! Many of us worry about who, exactly, will do the hard work of reporting when newspapers are gone (and news magazines). Aggregators on-line depend on them for hard news. So do informed citizens, who are encouraged daily to read about phenomena that go way, way beyond themselves and their daily lives..

  2. Submitted by Mark Davidson on 10/29/2014 - 12:18 pm.

    I, too, like to read two actual papers daily

    I agree with most of Mr. Hanson’s comments. I like to read the paper versions of the Pioneer Press and Star Tribune daily. I don’t read every story, And I start with the comics.

    I also look at the Star Tribune on-line a couple of times daily. And the on-line versions of the NY Daily News -NYC edition – and the Buffalo News, mostly for sports, since I moved to Minnesota from the Buffalo area in 1980. We are very lucky to be one of the rare areas with two major newspapers.

  3. Submitted by Todd Hintz on 10/29/2014 - 04:00 pm.


    I used to be a die-hard newspaper reader for many years, but I dropped it in the 2000s when the industry tanked. Even then I hung on for a long time, watching year by year as the size of the paper dropped with fewer articles, less coverage, and now in depth news. I missed the days when I could open a paper and be drawn into an article on a subject I normally don’t give a second glance to online.

    The writing was good then!

    But not anymore, at least locally. I have to pop over to the New York Times to get an article that’s more than two paragraphs long. Several years ago the Strib dropped off a few issues at my door to try for free. I called them up to cancel as they weren’t worth it even at that price.

    And I have to confess: I’m still not used to the narrow width of today’s paper. I know they do it to save money, but I still miss being able to open up this huge spread of newsprint back in the day with dozens of articles spread out before me. It was a joy to delve into the daily paper to see what gems it held! Now it’s just a sliver of its former self, just a couple of articles per page among all the advertisements.

    I have a few of the old school papers I’ve collected through the years, ones that announce some great event in the world, such as VE Day or the market crash of ’29. It’s fun to kick back with them now and then and re-read the news of another era, marvel at the new inventions hawked in the adverts, and, yes, read the comics.

  4. Submitted by John Reinan on 10/29/2014 - 04:20 pm.


    I recently rejoined the Star Tribune as (hopefully) one of those “people who know what the hell they’re talking about.” Delighted to read a powerful endorsement from such a well-regarded source.

  5. Submitted by rolf westgard on 10/29/2014 - 05:40 pm.

    I start with

    the puzzles. Then go on with the rest of both Twin Cities dailies. I was a college newspaper editor and I couldn’t do without the paper copy. It must be in the blood.

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