Buy a newspaper today

Published 7:53 pm Monday, February 2, 2009

Yesterday, Feb. 2, was National Buy a Newspaper Day.

The grassroots effort, which as far as I can tell originated on Craigslist, is focused on encouraging people to buy newspapers (not just to read them online, but to actually go out and buy the real, tactile, ink-and-newsprint paper).

While I, like most people, usually think all the “National Blah Blah Blah Days” are a bunch of ridiculousness, this is one of the few I have heard of that has some sort of value.

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As the economy continues to deteriorate, American newspapers, especially, have been severely affected. Many have conducted mass layoffs, reduced the number of days they publish, or even shut down completely, although the Suffolk News-Herald has been spared from all three evils.

In many places, major cities that previously had two or more major sources of news are in danger of losing some of them. Even worse, smaller areas that previously had only one newspaper might lose coverage of their area altogether.

That is a shame.

As the American way of life becomes more complex and technologically advanced, more people are turning to other sources for their news. Some people only see anything resembling news when they catch a headline on their way to check their e-mail, watch a quasi-news show on a comedy channel, or hear a smattering of news in between songs on the car radio as they rush their children to school.

Unfortunately, many people don’t realize they’re not getting the whole story in those tiny little sound bites. Radios and TV stations are bound by the time commercials and other programming take up. Internet news stories often rely on barebones information, betting that you won’t want to spend five minutes reading a story online.

Only the newspaper gives you the news and information that pertains to you. Sure, it’s a fair argument to say that newspapers are an outmoded technology – after all, it is now possible to read any book you please on your iPhone.

However, there’s something truly special about the newspaper. You won’t find more focused, in-depth coverage than you do in your local newspaper. So, even though we didn’t publish a paper on the official “National Buy a Newspaper Day,” I’m declaring today Suffolk’s official “Buy the Suffolk News-Herald Day.” If you’re reading this online, pick up a copy at a box today. Your local coverage depends on it.