I would be lying if I said this was easy. It most certainly is not. I am an unrepentant information junkie. I am the equivalent of the guy walking along the beach with the metal detector, listening intently and picking up everything from gold coins to tarnished metal buttons. Even as I have already learned a lot about my media habits just in the past couple of days, the reality of it is that I am quite content with the life of media consumption that I lead. I must thank my wife, who has been very helpful in reducing the amount of television she watches in order to minimize the background noise that inhabit.
The most interesting turn my daily routine has taken is that the newspaper has become my salvation. In the absence of the electronic media, a newspaper is all that stands between me and complete cluelessness. I have been a subscriber to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram since my wife and I bought our house almost three years ago. Subscribing at the apartment complex proved to be more complicated than it needed to be. My wife is not a newspaper person; few people that I know personally are. The people I know who DO subscribe to the newspaper MAY read 5-10% of it. What I have always discovered is that the people who DO read the paper tend to be older. When I was small, my mother got the paper on three days: Sunday (Sales papers), Wednesday (food sales papers), and the day after Steelers games. When she married my step-father, a prodigious newspaper reader even if he only believed half of what he read, I learned HOW to read the newspaper. Even though I was only 7, my step-father showed me how layout indicated what the newspaper man thought was important. He also showed me how TV news differed from the newspaper; how even though the news was faster on TV, people who read the newspaper always knew more.
How the real truth was told in the newspaper, because the real truth took much longer to get out. (even if he didn’t believe half of what was being written)
“People who read the newspaper always know more”, is a refrain I carried with me for a long time. That refrain has updated itself in how I inform myself online. I find myself looking online at newspaper sites to gain information about events rather than looking at one of the national cable newschannel websites or at the local TV news affiliate websites.
What I have learned most about this experience as it applies to me is that I have strayed away from the wisdom my step-father imparted to me. While it is not outside the realm of possibility for the newspaper industry to vanish before I return to my normal media consumption, I am making my mind up to continue my newspaper reading habits, because even though I don’t see the news, I don’t feel like I am missing out on anything.