Newspaper withdrawal

I’m officially not a newspaper subscriber any more. The subscription to the local twice-weekly rag ran out two issues ago, and I’ve been surprised by how much I miss it.

Some of this felt need for the paper is, I’m sure, heightened by the recent surge in staff turnover at that paper. I feel out of the loop, and there’s not a good way to fix it.

When our subscription to the daily regional/statewide paper ran out a few months ago, I expected to miss it, but I haven’t. A few times I’ve gone online to check out the movie reviews or get the full news story. I added the comics to my feed reader, and I’m pretty much set.

With the discontinuation of the twice weekly, I no longer have a Sunday paper. I do miss the Sunday paper. [The local paper was packaged with the statewide paper on Sundays.]

The local paper is online, but its content is regularly added to the site at least a day after the print edition, and none of the photos are available online. Information is not in predictable places, either.

While I was on vacation a couple months ago, our subscription to our daily, statewide newspaper, The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, (and regional daily, Northwest Arkansas Times; they came packaged together, as part of the same company) finally ran out. It’s not really a shock; my husband and I had been planning on letting it expire. I say finally, though, because telemarketers had been calling (a few letters arrived, too) nonstop asking me to renew. If I didn’t answer, the same person would simply call back later in her shift. This made the process seem much more dragged out.

When the daily subscription expired, I wasn’t sure yet what I would replace my morning fix with. The paper is online, but the internet version is missing a few of the pieces I used to read first.

Before these subscriptions ran out, I’d been reading more than one newspaper each day for several years. During college and for a few years afterward, I lapsed in consistent consumption of print journalism, but since then I’ve been a voracious reader of the local newspapers.

I’ve (unintentionally) replaced that morning newspaper and coffee ritual with blog-reading. I have a lot of subscriptions in my feed reader, and I usually take my mug of French-pressed coffee to the computer first thing in the morning now.

I don’t miss the daily — if I needed something, it’s readily available online — but I do miss the local paper, so far. That paper’s insufficient website is a huge part of the problem. It’s far too much hassle to go to the library just to read the newspaper.

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