By Larry Schiro
The recent news that the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette has dropped its Saturday edition has me concerned for my daily paper. Is this the portent of things to come here in Buffalo?
I am a reader of this daily newspaper. I say so in spite of criticism by many younger people who call me a dinosaur for doing so. I am frequently saying to many people, “Did you see the article on ... in today’s paper?”
I usually get a blank stare from the many people who are years younger than me, with a snide comment like, “What’s the paper?”
I began my love affair with the daily paper in 1963 while delivering the now defunct Courier-Express. Getting up at 5:30 a.m. to deliver my 36 papers in Niagara Falls afforded me the opportunity to learn to read the paper every day while walking my route on 27th Street.
I scoured the sports pages for anything baseball-related so I could be more informed than my buddies as we walked to school. I became a Bills fan reading the stories by Jim Peters and Phil Ranallo. Gil Thorpe was my favorite high school coach as he guided the fictional Milford High School through each sports season on the comic pages.
What has happened to the newspaper today? Well, nothing. The baseball scores and stories appear every day, the Bills and Sabres are still playing. There is still sports information to scour every day.
Somehow today’s younger generation, and even many older folks, don’t see the value of that daily printed paper. The internet and other electronic media deliver the news to so many today. The reliance on “the paper” is diminishing, against my liking.
The multitude of information that is contained in the paper is so rich and informative. I was told once that if you were to read the paper every day it was the equivalent of a four-year liberal arts education.
Besides the sports pages, it contains many national and international stories in much more detail than the daily TV news can deliver. Editorial commentary by noted writers from the biggest papers in the country appears every day. Their writing skills and political commentary give us perspectives from around the country.
Yes, the electronic media can give us up-to-the minute news information that a printed paper must wait until the next day to do. Even this paper has been publishing electronically for a few years now. But nothing rivals the feel and smell of the newsprint with my morning coffee. The excitement of reading the headlines of Page One is my daily ritual. I look with great anticipation for the morning newspaper.
When I was teaching I would frequently cut out articles from the paper and post them on the walls in my classroom. The stories varied, but many were about my students’ accomplishments. Can this be done electronically? No. I can send a link or post it on social media, but somehow that doesn’t have the same effect as seeing one’s name in print. Many times I find articles that I cut out and save or send to my daughter out of town.
When I read other contributors to this column, I think we all must be members of AARP to get published. I guess they also are among the “dinosaurs” left roaming the planet who also read the daily paper. Do young people shun us for being newspaper readers?
I think if we begin to write in their code with many LOLs, IDKs and a few emoji, they might begin to read the paper, too. I am afraid the long term fate of the paper is going the way of “Extra, extra, read all about it!”
Larry Schiro, of Williamsville, likes the smell of newsprint in the morning.