‘Lifelong newspaper junkie’ gives up print edition, lives to tell

Brian Hieggelke writes in alt weekly Newcity Chicago about giving up his print subscriptions for one month.

“Newspaper reading is a ritual for me. I wake up, make coffee, get the paper and hit my chair. In earlier years, I’d get agitated if someone messed with my papers, out of fear that I might miss a section, and my long-discarded bad behavior lives on in reputation with my family.”

Hieggelke’s notes on the experience provide a good idea of how to ease the transition for print-devoted readers. His biggest problems include not knowing where to find familiar features, and not getting the variables of headline size and placement on the page to let him know which stories are most important.

He adds a few predictions, too, seeing a future where the only print newspapers are the national ones with somewhat specialized interests, like the Wall Street Journal for finance and the LA Times for the entertainment industry.

Another important conclusion?
“As newspapers shrink, they might get personality back.”

Bonus link: Newspaper Association of America study shows growth in online newspaper audience.