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"And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." - John 8:32
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Author:  Larry Simoneaux
Bio: Larry Simoneaux
Date:  January 18, 2009
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A proud dinosaur.

Even though I thought it would eventually happen, I wasn’t ready when it did. The recent news that the Seattle Post-Intelligencer might be sold, go to an “Internet only” format, or shut down completely caught me off guard.

You see, I hate the idea of losing a newspaper - even if it’s one whose editorials had the same effect on me as listening to fingernails scraping across a chalkboard.

The troubles at the “PI” aren’t just a local phenomenon either. Over the past few years, newspapers like The Washington Post, the New York Times, the Boston Globe, and the Los Angeles Times have been struggling. Others - both large and small - have already folded.

Again, I don’t like it. I don’t like it because I’m a dinosaur and dinosaurs don’t do change well.

Minor aside: Grammarians may now shudder at that last sentence.

I’ve never really played well with new technology. It took a fairly major heart attack and the tight-lipped and repeated arguments of a good doctor and my wife to get me to carry a cell phone which I still don’t turn on as often as I should.

Too, I know little and care even less about iPods, Blackberrys, G3’s, podcasts, YouTube, FaceBook, MySpace, your space, counter space, outer space or whatever else is out there.

For example, when I hunt, I wander about (and that’s an accurate description) with a map and compass even though many of my friends now swear by GPS receivers.

I remind them that their receivers rely on batteries and satellites whereas my compass will work until the good Lord shuts down the earth’s magnetic field - at which point, who cares?

Anyway, after hearing the news about the PI, I took a survey at the company where I work.

Admittedly, the survey wasn’t well designed. Too, the sample size was fewer than 30 people and it consisted entirely of one question. That question was: “How many of you subscribe to a newspaper?”

The answers confirmed what I already knew.

I’m a dinosaur.

There were only two people in our company who subscribed to a newspaper. I was one and the other individual is someone even older than I. The remainder of our employees are all in their 20’s and 30’s and not one reads a newspaper regularly and the following, I think, is one reason for the demise of the printed page.

Trumpets and drum rolls please.

While buying into all of the “improvements” of the past 30 or so years, none of them ever learned the pleasant ritual of just sitting down in a quiet place with a cup of coffee (caffeinated) to read the news, sports scores, obituaries, columns, stock quotes, want ads, comics, and reflect on it all before either going off to work or at the end of a long day. That learned pleasure got steamrolled by technology and the Internet.

Instead, I watch them deal with the world as they know it. All day long, they text friends (and sometimes each other), take quick cell phone calls, sing along with whatever is being poured into their heads through those tiny ear buds (I just learned that term), or prowl the Internet during breaks.

I get that they know - about as well as any of us can - what’s going on. I do worry about the loss of depth in coverage, but they do watch the news. They follow situations. They read blogs. They “forward” what they see and hear. And, if you doubt that they can have an effect, take a look at their influence on the recent presidential election.

Too, I don’t doubt that, in the new media that they follow, crime will be reported, scandals will be uncovered, scoundrels will be exposed, stories will be slanted, and believing all that’s written will still be an “iffy” proposition.

But I’ll still hate the fact that we’re losing newspapers.

And, because of that, I’m going to keep telling them how pleasant it is to sit down and read the news without having to fumble with some beeping, buzzing, and flashing electronic gizmo.

I doubt that’ll I’ll change their minds.

More likely, they’ll just smile and, shortly thereafter, text their friends asking when they think dinosaurs will go away.

Sad all around is what it is.

Larry Simoneaux

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Biography - Larry Simoneaux

Larry Simoneaux is a regular columnist for The Everett Herald in Washington state. He is a retired ship driver for the US Navy and NOAA.


Read other commentaries by Larry Simoneaux.

Copyright © 2009 by Larry Simoneaux
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