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Posted Monday, January 19, 2009, at 12:30 PM

If the press says it enough times, they bring about their own demise, but we the readers will suffer most.

I remember back in the 60's when we were told that by now the country would be covered in asphalt or concrete and there would be very little green space left. Now, they say the internet and computers will replace the printed word.

I love science fiction and much of it eventually comes to life, but the loss of print is not one to which I look forward. Even here on a local basis, I kid myself if I think that even 50% of T-G subscribers will read this blog.

We want good participation in our garden meetings, so we HAVE to get it in print. Somehow, cutting out little Johnny or Jill's photo from the newspaper means so much more than a computer printed version. I could put my face on a news magazine background, but we all know it was not REALLY there. The real thing is proof!

How will history be recorded. Will our ancestors brag about seeing their great great grandfather on the internet, or have a news clipping or an old photo of them in their family album. "Ooops, sorry about losing that server and all the news from Shelbyville, Tennessee for the decade of 2020 was lost." Hope you saved it on an backup somewhere.

A "growing" newspaper in New Jersey (NEW JERSEY!!) only uses the internet to publicize their paper. If you want to read the story or see more than a few pictures, you have to buy the paper.

Do we think the Nashville Tennessean is going to publish the spelling bee winners at our local elementary school? Will they publish our gardening club meeting, send a reporter? I don't think soooooo.

I don't subscribe to the Nashville Tennessean because I can get my National News off TV and Internet and I am not too concerned about what happens locally in Nashville, but I DO subscribe to the T-G and pick up Tullahoma and Manchester papers whenever I get a chance because this is REAL and LOCAL news.

I don't subscribe to my gardening or business magazines online. One of my favorite reading rooms is not conducive to having my desktop or laptop with me. Reading on a plane is much easier when I don't have to "boot it up" or shut it down 20 minutes before I arrive.

I went shopping with my wife yesterday and she was surprised that I left the laptop home. I often bring it to work on while she is doing her thing.

But yesterday, I browsed a bookstore, and absorbed the ambiance of the printed word, fresh coffee and a comfortable chair. When asked if I needed help finding a book I steered away from the "how to", business and even garden books. I went to fiction and ended up buying a James Michener book that I had meant to read for a LONG time.

I pray that print is not dead.

By the way, I do not work for the T-G. I appreciate this forum but I just happen to appreciate their newspaper even more.

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As a writer, I would hate to see the demise of the printed word, especially community newspapers. Community newspapers are so important, as it is a place to record the history of those who will all too soon pass on. I will admit I do like to read blogs, and I get my national news online. But, newspapers will always hold a special place in my heart, as I started my career at one, and small community ones are the best.

-- Posted by tamb on Tue, Jan 20, 2009, at 6:15 PM

I read most of my news on my blackberry and I think I'm gonna be blind before I am 30

-- Posted by greasemonkey on Mon, Jan 19, 2009, at 11:05 PM

Has anyone seen the Sony Reader? I wouldn't mind getting the newspaper on that cool device. Very easy on the eyes and easier than fumbling with a newspaper.

-- Posted by Evil Monkey on Mon, Jan 19, 2009, at 10:32 PM

We lived in Nashville 46 years, so I am very interested in the Nashville news. I was quite upset last week when we received notice that the Tennessean will soon stop our home delivery. It would be nice if they can get someone to contract to deliver it. They did offer to sell it on-line, but my husband does not operate a computer very well. He is trying though.

When we first moved to Shelbyville we bought the paper at Kroger, Walmart, or a market, & not every day. It wasn't the same. Several things were missing: some sale flyers, TV schedules, coupons, etc.

I enjoy getting up each day and reading from both my Daily Bible & my morning paper, along with a cup of coffee. This may be what I did enjoy doing.

-- Posted by bettyhbrown on Mon, Jan 19, 2009, at 5:48 PM

I like having the option of both.

I've had my print library decimated by "acts of God" (although I'm blaming His competitor instead.)

If everything I've read and collected were in 3-D form,there wouldn't be a tree left on the planet and I'd have even MORE books and magazines stacked around.

I'd have even more trouble finding one story or article and I'd need two or three extra jobs to pay for all my subscriptions.

The less important ephemerata stays electronic.

I let someone else worry about keeping it for posterity.

The items that have personal meaning remain in forms that I can see,touch,taste,hear and smell.

Yes,I want to have electronic "back-up" of photos and information whether it be of my local paper,my medical records or my family history.

But,as was pointed out,that's not the same as having that Half-Pint Princess or Green Hat party at the nursing home or play at the Fly or spelling bee at the elementary school cut out and affixed to the kitchen fridge with a magnet.

It doesn't take well to scrapbooking or decoupage.

Print is,in many ways,more permanent,less vulnerable to tampering and more apt to be here in dire times than the Internet.

I like that I can read papers from a dozen cities (or countries) online.

I like the blogs and being able to change font sizes and colors at will.

I like having the option of carrying a whole library on a laptop or Kindle.

I like having a paper that doesn't get soaked,inks that don't come off on my fingers and pages that don't set off my chemical sensitivities.

But,I associate hard copies with freedom and permanence and the creative force of the writer.

The net will make its own niche but it will no more replace print than film and vinyl replaced live entertainment.

-- Posted by quantumcat on Mon, Jan 19, 2009, at 4:45 PM

Yeah they sent me a "complimentary" copy of the online version in my email, and all it was, was basically pictures of the print version. There was a lot of zooming in and out and it was really annoying.

-- Posted by greasemonkey on Mon, Jan 19, 2009, at 2:18 PM

I have had a print and a paper converting magazine offer online subscriptions. I wrote back to see if they were out of their minds, but never heard back. Guess they did LOSE IT.

The internet is great for National, International news and what we are doing here, but I have tried to read a novel online. OUCH, MY EYES HURT, and I feel as warm and fuzzy about curling up with the computer, as I do the snow coming down outside right now.

Don't get me wrong, I like snow, as long as it is gone in a few days.

-- Posted by stevemills on Mon, Jan 19, 2009, at 1:42 PM


I appreciate your sentiments regaurding the deminishing use of printed news. My father and I recently had this exact conversation. To say print is dead I think would be an overstatement. I also don't think it will die completely although it is losing steam. Similarly people thought commercial real estate would lose value due to everyone doing their shopping online. That has not been the case either. Although large newspapers are going out of buisness left and right. I do feel though that people need to prepare to get more and more of their information and news on the internet. That is where the vast majority of news media is headed. Newspapers will have to get more lean in their buisness practices and be innovative creating new revenue streams from their websites and podcasts. I love tradition but you can't let that stand in the way of progress. Thanks a lot.

-- Posted by TN_Titan on Mon, Jan 19, 2009, at 1:14 PM

I recently had one of the varmint hunting mags that i subscribe to offer to stop sending paper mags, if I wanted to just recieve it every month online.

-- Posted by greasemonkey on Mon, Jan 19, 2009, at 1:06 PM

It does seem that more people do want to get away from the printed "Word" if you know what I mean.

Writing goes back to the writings on caves and the scrolls of the Middle East.

I still find that the best times I have is to curl up with a good book or a good newspaper or magazine article.

Times sure have changed.

In the old days after a paper or magazine was through being read it served another purpose, using a computer in the outhouse would hurt.

-- Posted by michaelbell on Mon, Jan 19, 2009, at 12:48 PM

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Steve Mills and his wife have one daughter. They previously owned two coffee/ice cream shops, currently operate an internet sales company and teach classes, but his primary job involves the paper industry worldwide. Hobbies and interests lie in gardening, photography, recorded music and of course, their pets.