Thursday, February 9, 2012

Out with the old and in with the digital

I’ve embraced the 21st century and learned that I can get my news each day without wrestling with my morning paper. It’s a habit that’s been part of my life for decades, a morning ritual that in my case was also part of my work life.

Not so long ago I was in the business of putting out the paper; for years focusing on the newsy side of things – the national, international and local reports – before moving to features in the mid-1990s and fiddling around with a wide assortment of topics.

When I say wide assortment, I’m not exaggerating. In the last decade of my career, in one fashion or another I helped produce weekly and special sections on religion, travel, food, heath, aging, books, theater, movies, music, fashion, parenting, jobs, cars, homes and gardening. But I digress!

I worked for at least a half-dozen or so weeklies and dailies over four decades, the last 30 years for that place in the Land of Cotton with its own printing press that once upon a time “Covered Dixie Like the Dew”! The paper is still around; hunkered down in a new building in the suburbs, its editors trying to figure out how best to embrace the brave new world we all call home.

For a decade or so, as circulation and advertising revenues plummeted, the paper’s top bosses have been toying with the product, cutting resources – everything from the iconic headquarters building to staff writers, editors, artists, photographers and researchers – and wrapping their collective minds and arms around all things digital.

One success story is the paper’s new e-paper. I no longer have to waddle out to my driveway at the crack of dawn, deal with soggy newsprint on rainy days, or goose bumps when the temperature dips below freezing – okay, that doesn’t happen all that often in my little corner of the world, but still …

Best of all, the little dance of spreading out sheets of newsprint, smoothing out wrinkles and reading around smudges and tears is a thing of the past. Of course, the lovely Miss Wendy continues her love affair with all these things and wouldn’t consider dropping the hold-it-in-your-hands product that people of a certain, ah, age continue to enjoy. I say, viva la difference!

I find the e-paper to be a quick and easy way to get my morning dose of news, features and commentary. It’s easily accessible online and maneuvering about the paper is, literally, a simple matter of clicking from page to page.

I find that I spend much more time with the e-paper then I ever did with the, ah, paper paper. It also allows me to stumble across interesting little news stories and features that just isn’t part of the deal when surfing news websites.

If I keep moving in this direction, I might have to turn in my Old Fart’s card. That’s probably not going to happen, however, given the fact I’d never heard of MIA before last Sunday and still don't understand why she was making obscene gestures during the half-time show at the Super Bowl. Also, what's a Gaga and who's Adele?

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