did you stop getting the newspaper delivered to your home?
was driving away from my house the other day, and for whatever
reason I happened to be noticing mailboxes. And, as you know,
on many the roadside posts that hold mailboxes, there can be a
second container… for newspapers.
a kid, my house was on the delivery route for the evening edition
of the local paper. And yes, there was a morning edition as well.
To say I loved looking over the paper every day would be a massive
understatement. I let the paper sweep me up and carry me away.
It started in part because my newspaper had a variety of ways
to entertain children beyond just hoping they would begin looking
over the funny pages. The Providence Journal contained
games and puzzles and all sorts of things for kids to do, especially
you asked me in those days about what I thought about the days
when I would have my own home… well… I’m pretty confident that
things like utilities and setting up home delivery of the newspaper
would have been on my list of things to get done quickly as I
course… times change. In those heady days of media overload—really,
TWO editions of the daily paper with one of them delivered
right to my doorstep—there was no real debate over cable or satellite
television options, since most homes didn’t have either. And the
internet? What the heck is an internet?
in those days, the paperboy sweeping through your neighborhood
was roughly the equivalent of seeing the mailman… they both stopped
every day at every house.
the thing… and the turning point in our little tale… I have never
had home delivery of a newspaper since I moved out of the childhood
could cover a lot of ground in trying to figure out why. As I’ve
moved… for college and family and other assorted reasons… I have
never found a daily newspaper that can approach the quality of
The Journal in those days. (Make no mistake… The
Providence Journal in the 1970s and 1980s was a tremendous
newspaper.) The reasons I’ve moved include rental houses and work
hours that haven’t exactly matched up nicely with following the
news each day.
honestly, it can be very strange to consider. I am a huge supporter
of local treasures… with community and neighborhood shops, restaurants
and, sure, newspapers a part of those efforts.
thing is… times change.
honestly, one potential reason is a true media overload. In short,
the news is no longer an event today.
I was growing up, the hour beginning at 6pm was set aside for
the news. Local news at 6pm was followed by the national news
at 6:30. If you stayed up late, you could find out if anything
new had happened… including perhaps a change in the weather forecast…
days though… most stations are on before sunrise with some sort
of morning show. The local personalities continue visiting your
home every half-hour with updates during programs like Today.
And then there’s 5pm broadcasts.
the days of exclusives at noon, 6 and 11. Times change.
reason is the family home. More than ever, clocks and calendars
are suggestions when it comes to a workweek. Monday through Friday
schedules and regular business hours are virtually nonexistent.
lack of a longer description, gone are the days when the vast
majority worked 9-5 then came home to eat dinner and read the
paper while watching the news. And if you aren’t sure if that’s
true, consider how many homes use their dining room table for
family meals on a regular basis.
though, I’m not here wondering whether or not newspapers are better
or worse, in demand or lacking interest, and so on. Instead… I’m
thinking about the mailbox in front of my house.
are plenty of ways that today is different than yesterday… and,
more nostalgically, than my yesterday.
isn’t a bad thing.
also doesn’t mean that the mythical Mayberry has vanished. For
many communities the existence of a daily newspaper, children
spending almost as many hours in a neighbor’s home as they do
in their own, and catching up on the world at the barber shop
are still realities.
funny part is that as the communities around us adjust to today
while preparing for tomorrow, it sure appears as if the past holds
just a little less significance.
of my somewhat humorous expressions is based on my theory that
clichés are clichés for a reason. Simply put, there’s
a little bit of truth in there that carries them along. And one
of the great clichés when it comes to truth concerns history
not going to be adding a box at my home for the daily delivery
of a newspaper. I regularly pick up the local edition (and still
clip coupons). I also watch the local news, and check out the
web sites of the regional media. I can still offer my support
and stay on top of the community without having the paper brought
to my door.
all, times change.