The Internet: the Cause of the Death of Newspapers

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I was a news carrier from 1982-1983. This was my first job as a young teenager. My brother and I would troop through both good and bad weather to deliver newspapers all over my neighborhood in a suburb of NY. We delivered about 50 papers a day during the week and 75 on Saturday. I am actually surprised that I remember delivering the paper so vividly, considering how long ago it was. What I remember most was that we put the newspaper exactly where the customer wanted it. Some customers had boxes. Some wanted us to put it in their screen door. Others wanted the paper under their mat. We remembered where each paper should go and put it in place. In addition with that we collected our fees from the customers directly, even if it meant stalking some customers who wanted papers, but never seemed to have the funds to pay for them. Delivering the newspaper was a personal experience and out customers appreciated it. Fast forward 26 years and Newspapers as we know it are dying. Many blame the Internet as people can get news fast, and can find and read lifestyle and sports articles on command. While there is some truth in that, I have to wonder if Newspaper companies themselves did not have a hand in their own demise. I know as a newspaper delivery customer, I had many frustrations that sent me to the Internet for my news. It started around the year 2000. I was living in a New Orleans suburb at the time and subscribed to a newspaper. What you need to understand about New Orleans is that there is a heavy dew and fog every morning at dawn. This mean that newspapers delivered during this time would end up completely wet and soggy. I called. I asked. I cajoled. I did and said everything I could to try and get a newspaper delivered that was actually readable. All I wanted was the same service I had given as an adolescent paper carrier. Was it too much to ask that the paper be placed inside of my screen door where it would be dry, or even on my sidewalk where it had a better chance of not being soggy from the morning dew? Apparently, it was. You see, newspaper carriers don't get out of the car. It was much easier for me to read my news on the Internet. After leaving the state of Louisiana, and finding myself in an Atlanta suburb, and once again, I said yes to a newspaper subscription. I once again tried to request porch delivery, and was told that news carriers don't get out of the car. It takes to long and can be unsafe. This means that if it rained overnight, my newspaper was wet when I got it the next morning. Even when encased in a plastic bag, if the paper was partially out of the bag, it would conduct water throughout the entire paper making it a soggy mess. To make matters worse, my house was often skipped in newspaper delivery. I found myself calling about once a week for a newspaper deliver. Eventually I gave up. I am now a daily reader of Internet news. So is the Internet really to blame for the decline in the newspaper business? Sure the Internet news websites were glad to give the frustrated customers a place to read the news without dealing with smelly, germy, wet papers that the print companies refused to rectify. Still, I wonder if they made a move to improve customer service and delivery protocol if newspaper delivery wouldn't pick up again. I know I have two teenage kids who would be glad to deliver newspapers in my immediate neighborhood and they would even take the extra step to make sure the customers got dry papers. Too bad they don't allow kids to deliver newspapers anymore. “A GOOD newspaper, I suppose, is a nation talking to itself,” mused Arthur Miller in 1961. A decade later, two reporters from theWashington Postwrote a series of articles that brought down President Nixon and the status of print journalism soared. At their best, newspapers hold governments and companies to account. They usually set the news agenda for the rest of the media. But in the rich world newspapers are now an endangered species. The...
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