I Hear the Newspaper Delivery Person Outside

It’s Sunday morning and I’m up reading Techmeme and the New York Times and other news online. As I’m reading the Times via its great “Article Skimmer,” I hear the vroom of the newspaper delivery van outside and the thwack of the rolled-up NY Times as it hits the gate in the front of our house. There’s a 75% chance it will go straight to the recycling bin in all likelihood.

This was not what I intended of course.

I restarted my subscription to the Times a few months ago because I wanted to do my part to help the print newspaper industry. I also had a vision of sitting with my 9 year old and going through the paper together, initiating her into the venerable ritual of reading the Sunday paper. But that largely hasn’t happened.

Typically, by the time the physical newspaper has arrived I’ve selectively read the articles I want to read and efficiently skimmed everything else. Sunday paper done in 30 minutes — max. That experience, while not a leisurely aesthetic stroll through the paper has changed my behavior probably for good. (I’m also spending a lot of time reading news on my iPod Touch, subtracting that from my Internet news time.)

Just as I often think to myself “I’ll go to the gym this afternoon,” I know that if I don’t go in the morning it won’t happen. The same thing applies here. My behavior is all but fixed now and, despite my best intentions, it’s very unlikely that I will ever go back to a devoted session with the physical newspaper. I pick up papers left on public transportation or in the airport and glance at them. I also look at headines through newspaper bins or boxes on the street.

I’m as interested in news as ever — and I’m as interested in seeing the newspaper industry survive as I ever was — but in terms of my behavior and where I’m likely to get news, I’ve crossed the Rubicon with print newspapers.


7 Responses to “I Hear the Newspaper Delivery Person Outside”

  1. Patrick Behrens Says:

    Greg –

    You might consider buying a Kindle and subscribing to the NYTimes on it. That is how I satisfied my desire to support the newspaper industry by paying for content while still consuming the paper in a modern way. The subscription costs $13.99/mo versus over $50/mo for physical delivery, so you can pay for the Kindle in less than a year. Although the format on the Kindle is not of the same quality as it is online, there are other benefits like the ability to take it with you on the bus and, oh yeah, you can buy e-books and read those too.


  2. Greg Sterling Says:

    Thanks. I’m waiting for the color screen and Internet access 🙂

  3. earlpearl Says:

    Sad to hear that. I’m in the SF area for part of this week. My brother and sister-in law get the NY times and local newspapers. Free time allowed several of us to review various parts of the times on Sunday….sections that i might not have read when time is of the essence. Its the hidden pleasure of papers. I suppose that most 9 year olds are too young to read the newspapers, especially NYTimes that is certainly not designed for young people.

    Either w/ free time and/or the habit interest in reading thru the entire paper it is a real pleasure and it is of value. When life is so busy that every minute is tight nobody has the time to do that. I flew out w/the Sunday washpo and read thru more sections than I normally read.

    There are infinitely more areas of potential interest and education if one either has the time to review the papers or makes the time as a recognition of its immense potential value.

  4. joemescher Says:


    That’s exactly what newspapers mean when they say their model is broken.

    I grab my iPhone each morning to catch up with the NY Times. Increasingly though, I launch my Twitter app first to learn about breaking news and relevant stories before searching the Times by section.

    Like you I am as interested in the news as ever, more so than at any time in the past even.

    With the manpower of the presses I hope they launch into more viral conversations with the public (and develop a killer app that will snag my interest using an iPhone).

  5. Greg Sterling Says:

    They gotta figure it out or perish. And so they will — or not.

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