This past weekend, my longtime daily ritual of the morning coffee and newspaper came to an end. The coffee part of it will endure, of course, but not the newspaper part. My subscription to the Boston Globe ended on Saturday, and resuming the subscription will cost triple the current rate.
The hike is almost certainly a reflection of the Globe’s raging labor disputes and revenue losses. Whatever the reason, the writing has been on the wall for a while. Last Saturday’s Globe will almost certainly be the final hard-copy newspaper ever delivered to my home — for the record, I drank Dean’s Beans Fine and Mellow coffee as I read it.
Coffee and the newspaper made a good team for a century or so. It’s a classic diner image, somebody sipping the morning’s brew while browsing through the day’s news. This happened at the “third places” around town, in homes, and in offices everywhere. Hot coffee can’t be chugged, so with proper pacing, a mug could last all the way through a good, thorough reading of the day’s key articles.
For families with multiple readers, the morning newspaper also provided lessons in sharing and cooperation — Dad got the business section first, Mom started with the front section, while Sis read the arts/entertainment section and Junior took sports. (Mildly sexist, but you get the point.)
There’s obvious irony in a niche-subject blogger weeping over the demise of newsprint. Some of this is sentimentality from a former newspaper editor, knowing that a way of life for at least four generations of my family just ended. In time, I’ll probably get over the feeling that news isn’t news until the print edition is in hand. I’m far from a technophobe, and there are plenty of virtues to the online news medium — it’s greener, — more timely, and it potentially can blend the best of print and broadcast media.
But there are other reasons for my reluctance to morph from the morning coffee-and-newspaper routine to the morning coffee and laptop. I already spend many hours glued to my computer each day, and I’m not especially eager to spend yet more time staring at pixels on a screen. My klutziness makes this an unwelcome change, too. Spilling coffee on a newspaper was no big deal; spilling it on a laptop would be a fiasco.