A day for rodents and newspapers
April in Glenwood
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Monday was National Buy a Newspaper Day. It was also Groundhog Day and Purification Day.
Sounds like the start to a bad joke.
“So a newspaper, Punxsutawney Phil and a Catholic priest walk into a bar …”
The National Buy a Newspaper Day cause took root on Facebook, or “my other boyfriend,” as Russ calls it. I have been spending a lot of time with FB. And he hasn’t even bought me dinner. Not even a cheeseburger at McDonald’s.
I really am a cheap date.
By midday Monday, more that 20,602 guests confirmed their attendance at the event and pledged to buy a paper. That feat was achieved through grass-roots FB networking in just three weeks. It might not save the newspaper industry, but it does bring light to the concern people have as the hypothetical “death of print” looms. Is it possible that not everyone is as addicted to the Internet as I am? I have relatives who never even touch a computer, let alone log on to read their news online.
“I like reading the newspaper and cutting stuff out of it,” my mom said during a recent conversation on the topic. “What happens to all the people who don’t have computers? I know a lot.”
“I guess they’ll have to get with the times,” I said, surprising myself with my capitalist tone. “Buy computers.”
The memory of my late maternal great-grandmother, Ruth Wilson, popped into my head. I saw her standing at the gas stove in her old Altamont, Ill., kitchen making enough fried chicken, mashed potatoes and buttered corn to feed 25 people. She wouldn’t know what to think of a computer, or the Internet for that matter. I felt a yearning to be a kid again. When life was as simple as my algebra skills. To have Grandma Wilson scrub my back clean with that long-handled bristle brush in her old claw-foot bathtub.
I can think of a few news sources I’d have her clean up with a brisk brushing.
I also thought of how lucky I am to live in an age where news is all around me. There are so many sources. And much like dating, we must weed out the bad ones to find the good. “The ripest peach is highest on the tree,” to quote my favorite Hoosier poet, James Whitcomb Riley.
In journalism, the ripest peaches are fairness and truth.
These journalistic values are still attainable, even as media changes and misinformation plagues the Internet. It’s refreshing to see young Alaskan journalist Chris Freiberg initiate a positive cause in a time when our industry is experiencing some serious doom and gloom. Hey, he could’ve waited until Feb. 11 ” Don’t Cry Over Spilled Milk Day ” which just so happens to coincide with White Tee-Shirt Day, for a real tongue-in-cheeker on the state of the economy.
Much like International Dog Biscuit Appreciation Day, National Buy a Newspaper Day rallies the masses to support something they love. On Feb. 23, people worldwide will run out and buy dog biscuits. I may be able to read the Rocky and the Denver Post for free in the newsroom and online, but I plan to buy a New York Times in its full printed glory. Get it while I can.
Call me Chris Freiberg, but I have faith that print and online news can coexist. Just like Johnny Appleseed Day and Worship of Tools Day on March 11. Or Bunsen Burner Day and National Clams On The Half Shell Day on March 31. An apple really takes on greater appeal with the help of a knife. Clams on the halfshell over a bunsen burner flame? Delicious! It takes teamwork to win, after all.
Let’s just not get to the point of National Buy a Newspaper Printing Press Day.
April E. Clark thinks Something On A Stick Day and National Cheeseball Day should be combined. Who doesn’t love cheeseball on a stick? She can be reached at email@example.com.
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