my dad is a great storyteller. one of his favorite tales involves his brief foray into the newspaper business, circa 1955. he decided that his neighbors on edgewood avenue in orange, connecticut were in need of a local paper. his first article featured the recent and unfortunate scrapes and bruises suffered by his friend bobby (or was it eddie?) as the result of a neighborhood game of baseball. my dad made copy after copy, and no doubt filled his radio flyer to the brim with issues enough for the neighborhood. he distributed a paper to each of his neighbors’ front porches with the words FATAL INJURY scrawled across the top. his editor had a word with him about accurate reporting, and the paper suffered a fate worse than poor eddie (or bobby) ever did.
inspired by my dad’s story, my sisters and i followed suit with a paper of our own. the neighborhood news was hand-drawn and then photocopied in my dad’s office onto legal-sized paper (because legal-sized is decidedly more “newspaper-ish” than letter, of course). only one issue ran and we were out of print. bored ourselves and without interested subscribers.
admittedly, the unfortunate demise of these noble little (one) dailies probably didn’t have great significance for the world (although, i happen to believe that our neighbors might have benefited from responsible reporting on our backyard bunny rescues). but what happens when newspapers of considerably greater significance are threatened? what do we risk losing if, as this clip implies, newspapers are dead?
ask jill lepore. her report in the january 26 issue of the new yorker is excellent and worth your time.
and wonder what kids these days are printing? last year my sister sent me a link to her niece maria’s online newspaper. next came a youtube weather report, starring maria. and wind.