Thursday, May 29, 2008


A couple of months ago, I canceled my newspaper. This may seem ironic, considering I work there, but I thought I’d embrace the changes sweeping the industry and try to move my news consumption online. I figured it would reduce paper waste and help me better understand online journalism, which is increasingly the focus of my own job.

But what I’ve discovered is this: Now, I’m just a lot less likely to read the paper.

At work, I’m on the computer all the time. In fact, I have two computers, and I’m constantly on both of them. So by the time I get home, I don’t want to be online anymore and I make a concerted effort not to be.

In the morning, I upload my Flickr photos and I post to my blog. Then it’s time to either get to the gym -- where I read a magazine -- or get ready for work. Not much time for online newspaper reading there, either.

That leaves work, and that’s where I consume much of my national and world news -- often from the home page of The New York Times. But because I’m working, I can’t read at a leisurely pace, and I frequently don’t get much beyond the first paragraphs of the biggest news stories of the day. (Of course, news is my business, so I read a lot of it during the day, but often it's local content about communities where my company owns papers.)

When I got the actual paper, I’d often read it in the evening, or take it with me and read it on the subway or at a diner. Now I don’t have that option.

What I’m missing is the slow browsing experience, of turning pages and stumbling onto stories that I otherwise might not see. Online, I almost never get to the “interior” parts of the paper -- Real Estate, Styles, House & Home, Week in Review, the City section. Most of all, I miss the experience of being mercifully unplugged from the Internet, yet still connected to the world.

I think I’m going to restart my paper.

(Photo: East Village, May 2008)


  1. I like the tactile aspect of reading. I like the smell of ink, the black stained fingers. I like turning the pages.

    Online, I read a bit of news, but there's nothing like settling back on the couch on the porch and listening to the crackle of the pages as they turn.

    I don't play online cards either, for the same reason.

  2. I love reading the newspapers thoroughly every Sunday. The rest of the week I skim the basics (world news, business sections) but I like newspapers very much.

  3. restart the paper: I would too. Now that we've settled you are not an accountant, can we know what your job is at the NYT?

  4. Lee: I'm an editor for a chain of smaller papers owned by the Times company.

  5. Dennis would like a job at the NYTimes

  6. Steverino isn't an accountant?!?

    Good sales pitch for the printed if I just lived somewhere where the paper was worth more than bird-cage liner...

  7. haha - thinking of you being an accountant.


    (maybe thats not funny in the US the way it is in the UK?)