The Power of Physical News. What the Internet doesn’t provide.

The Power of Physical News. What the Internet doesn’t provide.

reading-the-newspaperI am in an airport at the moment, something that I am beginning to think that we all do too much, and I have no internet connection. I refuse to pay $14 for an hour of connectivity.

It is probably worth the money, but the principle of paying for a service that (all the good) airports generally provide, like water fountains, miffs me. I digress.

I picked up a copy of the Wall Street Journal ($2), and deposited myself into one of the lovely Southwest comfort chairs, and read the paper.

I mean, I hit every page of all the sections. Even the one pager on sports, trying as it was. This is what happened: I learned more in the last thirty minutes reading the Journal than I have in the past week reading hard news (not tech related) online.
I am a bit surprised by this revelation. I had never tried to compare the utility of reading offline and on directly, but it makes sense. Allow me to explain.

You read more, and more diversely when reading a newspaper. One story leads you to the next. And, when you are in the middle of section A, you see much more than a series of headline links. It drives you to keep reminding.
Once you complete the story on the health care reform bill, you note the article on the deficit, and then current Afghanistan policy, and so forth.

Online, I am always in a bit of a rush, moving towards the two sentences of the article that comprise the news bit of the point, before bouncing to a picture of a rabbit with a pancake on its head. You think that I am kidding.

To put it plainly, when physical newspapers are gone (talk to me in a few years, maybe three), I am going to miss them. Not too much, this only happens at backwards, anti-blogger, airports, but the point is made.

One other note, the quality of writing tends to be better offline than on. Given the news cycle in the blogosphere, say 37 seconds from wire story to post, versus a daily cycle, people have more time offline. You can really get into the wordsmithery , something that is so often lost online.

I know I must sound a like a dinosaur, but think about it. Actually, go pick up a copy of the New York Times, or the Wall Street Journal. Get some coffee, and read the damn thing. Then tell me there is no value to print.

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