How I have used the print edition, historically speaking

My personal reasons for picking up an ink-on-paper newspaper, whether from off the lawn or the kitchen table or the newsstand or the stack in the newsroom. For reference purposes, I grew up in a household with a Miami Herald subscription, which explains the details of 4, 5, 7, 9 and 10 to some extent.

  1. Comics.
  2. TV Guide.
  3. School lunch menu. (Although I caught on pretty quick that Friday was always pizza day.)
  4. Crime blotter in the Neighbors section, broken down by neighborhood.
  5. Action Line.
  6. Baseball box scores.
  7. Dave Barry.
  8. Movie times.
  10. Jim Morin.
  11. Crosswords.
  12. The New York Times Sunday crossword.
  13. To read the ledes in the Spartan Daily between the parking garage and my desk.
  14. To cut out my clips, just in case.
  15. To double check cutlines when adding photos to stories online.

So, for those of you keeping score, the items on the list that are, shall we say, the newsiest, are definitely 4 and 13. In the case of 13, I was reading the paper both to get the news and to get an idea of who at the Daily could really report and/or write.

I use this, in an abbreviated version, as a way to talk with news folks about the difference between print and online.

When people talk about e-paper not replacing print anytime soon, and about the “feel” of newsprint and the physicality of the object, I think what they’re really talking about is turning the pages to get to their favorite feature, whether it’s the horoscope or Ann Landers or the Jumble.

Hey, are those all on the same page?

But online, I think you’re better off sticking with what makes online different: Breaking news, blogs, video, conversation, community, links, aggregation, audio, slideshows, galleries…

Please, don’t try to throw Ann Landers at me online and tell me readers demand it. They want Ann and Abby, they can pick up a print edition. Don’t waste your money and your Web staff’s time by signing sixteen partnerships for movie times and TV listings and comic strips. If I want that online, I know where to find it.