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October 31, 2005

Curious About Newspapers

This is a participatory entry, to satisfy my own curiosity, since it's a subject near and dear to my heart. If you would answer the following three questions in the comment thread, I would be obliged:

1. Do you subscribe to a newspaper? Note the question is "subscribe," not "read." If you pay for an online subscription (Wall Street Journal, Times Select), that counts, but I'm really looking for offline subscriptions.

2. Why do you subscribe or not subscribe?

3. If you don't subscribe to a newspaper, what might convince you to subscribe? If you do subscribe, what would make you quit subscribing?

My own answers are in the comment thread.  

 

Posted by john at October 31, 2005 08:37 AM

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Comments

John Scalzi | October 31, 2005 08:58 AM

My answers:

1. Yes, I subscribe to the Dayton Daily News and the online version of the Wall Street Journal. I gave some thought to subscribing to Times Select, but as the DDN Op-Ed pages run NYT columnists regularly, I didn't see the point.

2. I subscribe for a number of reasons, the first being that I trust the DDN as a local news outlet far more than I trust the local TV news and news radio (also, the idea of watching local news on TV fills me with horror), the second being that it's also a useful source of other news, commentary and humor (I prefer to read my newspaper comics in a newspaper), and the third being that they pay me to write for them, so the least I can do is subscribe.

3. I'd stop subscribing if I felt the newspaper's mission (the one of reporting the news, not the one of selling ads) was being tampered with. We stopped subscribing to another local newspaper, the Greenville Daily News, when the president of the publishing company ran for Congress and the newspaper started slanting its news accordingly. Call me old-fashioned, but a newspaper is in some sense a public trust, and you don't mess with it that way (I don't really have a problem with a general overall lean -- when I was in the Washington DC area I subscribed to the Washington Times knowing it was way on the right -- but there's a difference between a lean and a slant, if you know what I mean).

Kevin Q | October 31, 2005 09:11 AM

1. No, I do not subscribe to any newspapers, online or off.

2. I don't subscribe because I can get most of my news from the internet, including local news. A newspaper is just a waste of my money and my garbage bags.

3. If there were an online news service that could predict what I wanted to read, and give me only those articles, either free with a few banner ads, or inexpensive with no ads, then I would "subscribe" to that. In a way, my my.yahoo.com page comes close, in that I tell it what categories of articles I'm interested in, and it gets me get 6 biggest stories in each category. I don't know what bizare series of events would convince me to subscibe to a printed newspaper, but it would probably involve some sort of digital paper.

K

alkali | October 31, 2005 09:19 AM

1) I subscribe to the weekend Boston Globe and New York Times. (I actually subscribe to the Globe on a Thursday-Sunday basis because I can't subscribe on a Saturday-Sunday-only basis.) I also subscribe by mail to a weekly newspaper published in the town where I grew up.

2) I subscribe to the Globe and Times in print on the weekends because reading the paper in print form is more pleasant and social on the weekends. The weekly hometown paper is not available online, and I like to keep up.

3) If either the Globe or the Times changed fundamentally (for example, if it converted to a tabloid format) I would stop subscribing. I can't really imagine that happening. I can imagine that if I completely lose touch with my hometown (e.g., most everyone I know there dies or moves away) I would stop subscribing to that paper.

Jon R | October 31, 2005 09:20 AM

I don't subscribe because I get all my news online, and it's too much of a pain to recycle newspapers.

I doubt I would subscribe to a newspaper at all. I've gotten too used to the instant (more or less) updates of an RSS feed.

Bryan | October 31, 2005 09:20 AM

I used to subscribe to the daily paper. In fact, when I was in college, I used money I did not have just to subscribe to the daily paper. About three years ago, however, I gave up my subscription to the daily paper (in my case the Chicago Tribune) because I found that I did not have time to read it. Because I was not reading the paper, I thought it was a waste of money to subscribe.

I know get all of the news that I need by reading the online version of the Tribune and Sun Times (as well as my local suburban paper). Thus, by not subscribing, I actually end up reading more news in less time.

I do miss my daily comic fix, however.

punkrockhockeymom | October 31, 2005 09:23 AM

1. No. We used to subscribe to both the Ann Arbor News and The New York Times, and prior to that (when we lived in Detroit) the Detroit Free Press daily and the Detroit News Sunday edition. We canceled all four subscriptions, albeit for very different reasons.

2. When we subscribed, it was because we also generally trust print news sources more than television or radio. I really just can't watch television news either.

3. We canceled the Detroit papers when we stopped trusting their reporting, during the highly publicized newspaper strike a few years back (time flies!). The papers' ownership first union-busted then slanted its reporting on the issue, neither of which I could tolerate.

We canceled both the AA News and The New York Times for a different reason; since I've been out of school and working so many hours, I tend to get a lot of my news online, and the papers would just pile up, go unread and end up in the recycling. When I'm home and have time to read, I'm usually reading with my son, or reading fiction/trying to write. We struggle with this, however. My preference would be to still subscribe to both, actually, and to somehow find more time in the day to read them.

Dean | October 31, 2005 09:28 AM

We subscribe to the local broadsheet. Only one of us (not me) reads it, probably 4 or 5 days a week.

We (ok, she) subscribes for local news and information.

Brandon | October 31, 2005 09:28 AM

Don't subscribe to any, and I doubt I ever will. I'm too young to really feel like it's necessary, I think - ever since I've been interested in the news, there's been the internet. Reading a paper is just too old-fashioned.

Stephen H. Segal | October 31, 2005 09:30 AM

1. I recently moved from Pittsburgh to the Washington DC metro area. I currently subscribe to the daily Washington Post, and intend to renew my lapsed subscription to the Sunday New York Times.

2. The Post is the fullest local paper of record, so as a new resident I find it the most useful in getting acclimated to my new city. (I also do occasionally pick up the Washington Times for additional perspective.) I subscribe to the Sunday New York Times primarily for the Arts section, the Book Review, and the Times Magazine. (I've tended for years now to read most of the top national/world-affairs news stories online, though now that I'm getting the Post I do read its political coverage.)

3. If another local news outlet had more to offer than the Post does, I would consider switching. But both it and the NY Times are such fundamentally influential American newspapers that I can't imagine giving either one up for reasons of offensive content -- if either one did take a nasty editorial turn, I'd probably feel honor-bound to keep an eye on them. (Well... I suppose if they ever became utter Nazi-type propaganda tools, I'd read them at the library instead of buying them.)

j | October 31, 2005 09:31 AM

1. I don't subscribe at present. However, I can get free copies of the NY Times, Wall Street Journal, and Newsday on campus.

2. When I did subscribe, the delivery was often poor (several different states). I found myself calling on a regular basis to remind the paper that I had a subscription and I thought it implied delivery of a daily paper without a reminder phone call. Some days, I was told that I had called too late to get a paper that day.

3. A need for local content not available in other sources (e.g., NPR).

fiona | October 31, 2005 09:40 AM

1. I currently do not subscribe since I moved out of the country and my language skills are currently not good enough for a subscription to the main newspaper here, The People's Daily (incidentally this is an organ for the Chinese Communist Party). But back in the day I subscribed to the weekend edition of the NYT and the LA Times.

2. I like reading the newspaper because articles would catch my eye, articles that I would normally never read. I did hate dealing with the recycling aspects of a physical copy of a paper.

3. Money and time would be my main factors in subscribing or unsubscribing.

BTW, congratulations, your blog is NOT blocked behind the great firewall of China. China's cracking down on blogs these days, and in fact, I cannot access blogspot. Or wikipedia, for that matter.

Brian Greenberg | October 31, 2005 09:41 AM

1) I do not subscribe to any paper.

2) I don't subscribe because newspapers are such a poor way to deliver news in this day & age. If you catch them very early in the morning, the news is only 6-8 hours old. If you try to read one in the evening (i.e., on the commute home from work), you might as well pick up a good novel, the stuff is so out of date. Example: on the day of the London bombings, the front page of the New York Times had a big picture of Londoners celebrating the decision to hold the Olympics there, along with articles about how happy & excited Londoners were that day. True when it was printed, but entirely irrelevant at the time.

FWIW, I do receive several news feeds from newspapers (the NYTimes, Wall Street Journal, and NYPost - for the local sports & city news). So it's not that I'm against the content provider, but when I read something, I've come to expect it to be accurate within at least the last couple of hours.

3) My motto is "right tool for the job." I could see a newspaper playing a role in local news, since that kind of thing tends not to lend itself to online news. If I knew of a good local paper, I might subscribe. Also, they need to work on the form factor - getting newsprint all over my hands in this day & age is unacceptable. And having fold my news like a AAA map on a long car ride while on a crowded commuter train is equally ridiculous.

I've written much more on this subject here, in the context of how blogs fit into the entire news media structure. If you're interested, of course...

John Scalzi | October 31, 2005 09:47 AM

Fiona:

"BTW, congratulations, your blog is NOT blocked behind the great firewall of China. China's cracking down on blogs these days, and in fact, I cannot access blogspot. Or wikipedia, for that matter."

One of the advantages of being one's own domain, I suspect. Also, I don't think I've ever writeen anything one way or another about China here; indeed, the most common "China" reference on the Whatever is to author China Mieville.

Erin Hartshorn | October 31, 2005 09:51 AM

1. Yes, we subscribe to The Morning Call, which is one of the local papers.

2. My husband likes to read the newspaper in the morning while eating breakfast. My mom was a reporter, and I like being able to get more in-depth news than is available on TV. (I should note that my husband is a news junkie and usually has NPR's Morning Edition on at the same time, and the local station also carries local news.)

When we lived in northern Ohio, we didn't subscribe because the Plain Dealer didn't have substantial content, and there was nothing in it actually local to where we lived (Oberlin). At that time, we were basically in the dark about any local happenings because local news was indistinguishable from tabloid TV -- and also didn't cover outlying communities.

3. We don't subscribe if there is insufficient local content, as noted above. If editorial bias starts crossing heavily into the news, we might also reconsider our subscription.

Jim Winter | October 31, 2005 09:55 AM

1.) No, I don't subscribe to any papers.
2.) Most of them are available online for free, and as much as I rail on 24 hour news, I can usually get most of my national news from CNN, Fox, or MSNBC.
3.) I'm not sure anything could get me to subscribe to a newspaper these days. By the time it reaches my doorstep in the morning, the content is already stale.

Randy | October 31, 2005 09:56 AM

1. Yes, I have a subscription. But it's only for Saturday and Sunday.

2. I like to read the paper at breakfast on the weekends. During the week, I sit in front of a computer screen for 8+ hours per day, and plenty of places carry the news online - including my subscription newspaper.

3. I'm not sure I could quit my subscription.

Andrew Wade | October 31, 2005 09:56 AM

1. Nope.

2. I expect my address to change in the next few months. At the moment I am getting my newspaper needs met through my parents' and in-laws-to-be subscriptions, and I am getting my magazine needs met by buying them off the rack.

3. I will subscribe to the Globe and Mail (New York Times on Sundays!), once I move out. I don't go to any Aspers-owner news source for news ever since they fired Russell Mills, so the National Post is out. If the owner's aren't going to let their newspapers publish relevant facts, why bother reading it? Politically I'm closer to the Toronto Star than the Globe, but the Globe seems to have more focus on Journalism. Besides, New York Times on Sunday with a subscription. The other thing that would make me seriously re-think subscribing is if the newspaper telemarkets. I prefer to do business with ethical businesses.

Stan | October 31, 2005 09:57 AM

1. No
2. The physical newspaper quicklyy becomes a source of clutter instead of a source of information. I'm not into the lcoal news enough to read it everyday, so the paper piles up near the door, from there going directly into recycling. Why would I pay for additional housework? I get national news/weather/comics/movie info online. If I miss a day, it doesn't pile up in my pc.

3. Fewer Timmy fell in the well stories. Yes, it's sad that someone in another state disappeared. But, unless it's part of a trend, it doesn't really affect me and there's really nothing I can do about it.

At the same time, more in depth coverage of things that either affect me or are thought provoking. I feel like most coverage needs to take a step back and look at the big picture. Example: stock coverage, it feels like someone constantly yelling, It's up, it's down, it's down again.... At that level, they're mostly analyzing noise. I don't care much about where a stock or industry is going to be in an hour, I want to know where it will be in six months or six years.

I used to subscribe to the Economist, which is a good model of what I want. But I found myself not reading it either and it's pricey so I dropped it. Maybe once both kids are in school and I'm getting enough sleep to think properly.

Naomi | October 31, 2005 10:02 AM

I subscribe to the Star Tribune (the big daily Minneapolis paper). I get it because I like to have something to read while eating my breakfast and drinking my coffee: an actual tangible newspaper (as opposed to online access) is indispensable to the routine that I've had since I was about 12. I also want to be able to read the comics easily, all on one page.

We recently discussed dropping our subscription because of their obnoxious "redesign," but it's not quite worthless enough to dump entirely at this point. And if we did get rid of it, we'd have to find some other paper that offered daily delivery and comics. The NY Times does daily delivery around here, but has no comics to speak of. Also, I need some source of local news.

erin | October 31, 2005 10:04 AM

1. Yes. Washington Post. Sunday Only.
2. I subscribe for the specials in the Sunday edition...local news, Sunday Source, Arts, Travel. I do not read the hard news. I get that online or on NPR and sometimes on Jon Stewart's Daily Show! The $ I save with coupons from the Sunday paper more than pay for the paper itself.
3. I would subscribe daily if I did not get news from other sources or had more time. I would stop subscribing if the delivery guy starts fucking up again. We went through a phase where I either only got the paper or only got the Sunday inserts as opposed to both.

JPN | October 31, 2005 10:12 AM

1. I subscribe to the Chicago Tribune, my hometown newspaper and one that I’ve read as long as I can recall reading.


2. This is best answered by listing the sections I read, in the order I read them. First, the editorial section, including perspective. Then various columnists that are not in the editorial section. Then sports, then comics. This normally takes me through two roughly hour-long train commutes, to and from work. I love the Trib’s editorial editorial page – this in spite of the fact that they’ve never once endorsed a Democrat for President. One would think that any paper that endorsed Richard Nixon three times might find itself disqualified – oddly, the Trib does not.


3. I cannot think of much that would prompt me to forgo my subscription – I’ve had one for nearly forever. And it is my hometown paper. I already disagree with most of the editorial slant, but appreciate most of the writers, notable Steven Chapman and Charlie Madigan. And, yes, Eric Zorn, too. (Hello Zorn.)

Cherie Priest | October 31, 2005 10:23 AM

1. I do not subscribe. Because ...
2. All we have here in Chattanooga is the Times-Free Press, which is really shines best at the bottom of a cat's litter box, but I might be biased there because ...
3. I used to work for them.

Also, I have the internets. What do I need a newspaper for?

Martin Wagner | October 31, 2005 10:29 AM

1. No...
2. Because the newspaper will always be yesterday's news. Today, with the instantaneous propagation of information on the internet, the daily paper is no longer relevant. Alos, with the internet, you have fast access to a broad selection of news sources, whereas with one daily paper, you are at the mercy of receiving only the news that its editorial board deems worth reporting on. Thus many crucial stories will go under-reported, and many editorial points of view ignored, especially those that don't please said paper's corporate owners (if it has any, like Murdoch). And as other posters have pointed out, old papers become clutter to be recycled.
3. As a former cartoonist, if newspapers had glorious full-page, four-color Sunday comic strips like they did 95 years ago, I might subscribe to collect those. Otherwise, I cannot think of a reason.

Anonymous | October 31, 2005 10:30 AM

  1. I did for about a year. Got the Globe and Mail and NY Times Sunday edition.

  2. Cancelled my subs because a good amount of time I simply never read either paper, or just ended up flipping through the Times Magazine. I stopped even doing either crossword puzzle.
  3. I suspect my main reason for getting rid of both is that, wouldn't you know it, they were filled with nothing but weak-ass analysis and bad news. I was learning nothing that I couldn't just get off any newsie site, and the so-called news reporting was making my blood boil half the time. Man, my week-ends are for /relaxing/.

Chris Gerrib | October 31, 2005 10:34 AM

1) Yes. The Chicago Tribune (my hometown paper) in dead tree form, and the Wall Street Journal online.

2) Although I rely on Internet and (occasionally) TV for breaking news, I think that newspapers are unmatched for in-depth reporting. I also like the "point in time" reporting of a newspaper. A lot of online news stuff (see CNN.com) is "breaking news" with no depth or understanding of the interrelationships. And lastly, I do like my comics page fix :-)

3) I would unsubsribe if the newspapers stopped providing depth of coverage or went from "biased" to "propaganda." I should elaborate on that a bit. All news reporting, including bloggers, has a bias. This is because all people have a bias. I read a mixture of left- and right-wing stuff (most of the left from the Internet) in an attempt to get all sides of the picture. At any rate, everybody is entitled to their opinion, but they are not entitled to their own facts. As long as the news source (newspaper, blog or whatever) makes an honest effort to separate fact from opinion, I'll trust it and read it. When they don't, I won't.

Rick | October 31, 2005 10:37 AM

Los Angeles Times, dead tree daily.

Why? Partly, I suppose, out of habit - I've been reading it since before DARPAnet existed, let alone the Internet as we know it now. And though the LAT has gone downhill (by the time you're in your 50s, EVERYTHING has gone downhill) it is still decently comprehensive. I glance at things I would never have clicked on, and sometimes end up reading them.

If the LAT ever went really into the dumpster, I'd probably call it an era and fall back on online news.

Tor | October 31, 2005 10:40 AM

1. Don't subscribe - used to subscribe to the NYT.

2. Now get the info I want/need better and faster online. Also, I don't trust newspapers - any of them. Not because of any slant, altought that is part of it, but because I have seen the laziness of reporters too often to really trust their facts.

3. I suppose if a newspaper printed a column of mine I would subscribe. Digital paper that enabled me to get more info on the stories that I read, with a TIVO-like predictive ability to suggest new stories, along with recent posts on blogs I read would do it.

Barbara | October 31, 2005 10:44 AM

1. Yes, the local rag.

2. I subscribe because certain members of my household are afraid of the internet, and because I can find out if my trash is going to be picked up this week. I do my crosswords and read all my news and comics online.

3. I have quit other newspapers (WSJ, NYT, FT) because of their (lack of) local delivery reliability -- no use trying to read up-to-date information from yesterday's paper. I've never given one up because of editorial stance, because I'm just not that passionate about it. I'll probably stop taking the local paper if they ever get a decent online site and can convince scaredy-cat that the internet won't bite.

Resa | October 31, 2005 10:52 AM

1. I have no paper subscriptions,

2. The local papers are so slanted as to be useless. I used to read the local paper in another city for the crime blotter and the letters to the editor, but the local papers don't run a crime blotter and the letters just make me despise my neighbors, so in this case I think ignorance is bliss.

3. I'd subscribe if there were actual local news, announcements and coupons that I couldn't easily get elsewhere in the paper. I'm not so interested in the local take on national/international news and I have online subs to some "papers" from other cities anyway, which means no bulky mess in my mailbox and no papers to recycle.

Jim | October 31, 2005 10:54 AM

1. I have a 7 days/week subscription to the Providence Journal. (I don't live in Providence but Rhode Island is small enough that ProJo can cover it all.) It is a fairly decent paper (although, of course, not quite as good as it seems to imagine that it is).

2. (The funnies?) I tend to get most major national & international news on the Internet so that each morning those stories in the paper are ones I read online the previous day, but that isn't true for most Rhode Island area news so I read it for that and for some news of my local town in the regional section. "Rogues Island" (as the state has often been called) has a seemingly endless supply of corrupt but fascinating political figures. Also the funnies. I have always enjoyed reading editorials and columnists and letters-to-the-editor. And the funnies.

I've almost always subscribed to the major local daily newspaper whereever I have lived. I can't imagine not having a daily paper. I also used to read the Wall St. Journal most days (never subscribed because I never thought that it would actually be delivered in a timely fashion) -- I have given up that habit primarily because I work from home most days so I don't have an opportunity to pick it up.

3. I can't imagine not subscribing to a daily paper. I mean, what about the funnies? I used to subscribe to a pair of true local papers -- that is, covering my local area -- one was a weekly and the other published twice a week. We dropped the weekly after a couple of years because it was redundant. I'm thinking of starting that one up again because we cancelled our subscription to the other paper because its coverage of local school issues (both in terms of inaccuracy of coverage and bias of editorial position) had my wife totally pissed off.

[I watch maybe ten or fifteen minutes of local TV news on one of the Providence stations most weekday mornings -- enough to catch the weather forecast and confirm that the world has not vanished overnight -- and other than that, do not watch any television news unless there is a truly major breaking story that I am curious about -- and Katrina and Rita were the only such occasions since the '04 election.]

Mris | October 31, 2005 10:57 AM

Like Naomi, I subscribe to the Strib. I like having a physical newspaper to cart around the house and read, and more importantly I like having a balance of stories that's skewed in different ways from my online sources. I wouldn't actually sit down and glance through all the stories in the Strib Online, and I know very few people who do. While various blogs and journals are good for pointing out articles the Strib doesn't always catch, the reverse is also true. I don't work in an office or hang out with people in a PTA group. The people I socialize with have very specific things in common with me. I like seeing some of other people's/groups' concerns as well.

I'll probably keep subscribing to the Strib indefinitely. It's already got its own political angle, but I don't think that angle has made the transition into corruption. If it did, I'd probably try to find some balance of feeds to read online, but I'd miss the "readings this week" listing and the articles about older men trying to find ice time for their hockey league and all that.

Anna | October 31, 2005 10:59 AM

I can't seem to turn down someone's request for information I can provide, so despite a tendency to resist commenting and having said things here only once or twice before, here are my answers:

1 - No. I do not subscribe to a newspaper.

2 - I don't subscribe because I don't read the paper. I get my national/international news from others sources and my local news is pretty well covered by the two local free weeklies. I'm told it's actually quite difficult to get them to stop delivering the freebies, so I will not consider my receiving them to be a subscription. I would not miss the weeklies if they vanished, though I find at least one of the two quaint and amusing, and a good place to keep up with local events. The other is pale and has no character.

3 - Very little would convince me to subscribe to a newspaper. It would have to be closely tailored to what I want to read (this primarily involves coverage of international news), give me the depth of information on topics I'm looking for (analysis and context, not just blurbs or headlines), not have an entertainment or sports section (except to tell me when movies I want to see are coming out) and it would have to carry itself to the trashcan/recycling bin when I was done with it.

OTOH, if you can consider my membership to my local public radio station a subscription, then nothing would part me from it. It provides the bulk of my news, I can acquire information from it while doing other tasks, it creates no waste that I have to deal with, it tells me things I didn't even know I was interested in, and I can go online and pull stuff out of the archives if I miss stories, only partly hear something that sounds interesting, or want to recheck somthing I heard. It's pretty much perfect.

Amanda | October 31, 2005 10:59 AM

1. Nope. Not a one.

2. Currency and recycling impact. I don't have time to read the paper in the morning before work, so I'd be picking it up in the evening. Since I read a number of internet news sources throughout the day, I'll have already read the significant news by the time I get home and get to look it over. Recyling -- man, that's a LOT of paper.

3. That's a tough one. Really fantastic editorials? And I mean downright amazing, AND not available online. If I can read anything electronically, I will.

Anonymous | October 31, 2005 11:01 AM

1. Yes, I get the local paper. It has no local competition (but competition from a larger city further north) and it shows.

2. Until I got DSL, I got the paper for the news and the comics. Since getting DSL, I find I get most of my news from Yahoo and see it again 2 days later in the paper. My commitment to renewal is thus wavering. They did pick up Get Fuzzy, however, which is an improvement.

3. The major reason I subscribe now is habit and local news. I barely glance at the front section anymore and always read the editorials/letters to the editor which are not online. I'm leaning toward canceling the paper after my son finishes his journalism class (it's daily required reading now until January) because if all I'm reading is 2 pages of newsprint and recycling unread the rest, it's not a good investment.

I found this quote amusing: Call me old-fashioned, but a newspaper is in some sense a public trust, and you don't mess with it that way

Newspapers, first and foremost, are businesses to make money. They may wrap themselves in rhetoric about public trust, but it's all part of the mystique and maintaining the readership/subscription base to attract advertisers. Looking at a newspaper or any other medium any other way is naive. It's good business sense to run a (so-called) fair, balanced paper. If a newspaper could sell more issues by publishing crappy lies, they'd do so. Just as we get the government we deserve, we get the newspaper we deserve.

Cassie | October 31, 2005 11:03 AM

Last comment was mine. Must check name and email fields before hitting enter.

Castiron | October 31, 2005 11:03 AM

1. No, I don't.

2. Budget and time. My finances are tight enough that I'd rather put that money towards something else. Also, when I stopped subscribing to the local paper, I gained a badly-needed half-hour in the morning because I wasn't reading it before work. (Plus, there's no paper to dispose of!)

3. A sufficient increase in my disposable income such that I could justify the cost, both in money and in reading time -- and even then, it'd be competing with some other stuff on my priority list (roof replacement, more therapies for my disabled son, DSL, a cell phone....)

Mark Wallace | October 31, 2005 11:11 AM

1 I don't subscribe to a newspaper

2 I don't subscribe because the newspaper isn't delivered before I leave in the morning. I'd have to read the newspaper at night. By that point I've read over 300 RSS feeds in bloglines, so the newspaper is pointless.

On top of that, I find that I get a better picture of teh news by reading multiple sources. The WaPo (which is my local paper) tends to provide superficial coverage. They report what happened and two different opinons about what happened. They don't report what the event means, or provide a meaningful context. They don't evaluate the opinions they provide - so frex in a discussion of Ebonics they'll quote a "scholar" who advocates Ebonics with equal authority as anyone else.

3. I'm unlikely to subscribe.

4. Although you didn't ask, things I value about newspapers and miss
4a Comics (WaPo comics page is excellent)
4b opinon columnists. (e.g. Robert Samuelson).

Jeff | October 31, 2005 11:13 AM

1. Yes, only the weekend edition. San Diego Union Tribune, yuck!
2. My wife wants to do the Sunday Crossword and clip coupons and it is more convenient to get it delivered. Occasionally, we'll read a few stories.
3. I'd stop if they made us subscribe all week or create a coupon, crossword, comics only edition.

Oliver Dale | October 31, 2005 11:17 AM

1) No.

2) I get all the news I need and more online (don't care so much about local news).

3) Can think of nothing, really, that would make me want an offline newspaper subscription.

John Scalzi | October 31, 2005 11:26 AM

Cassie writes:

"Newspapers, first and foremost, are businesses to make money. They may wrap themselves in rhetoric about public trust, but it's all part of the mystique and maintaining the readership/subscription base to attract advertisers. Looking at a newspaper or any other medium any other way is naive."

Speaking as someone who began his writing career in newspapers and still writes for newspapers now: You're flat wrong. The people who put together the editorial for newspapers usually care rather deeply about the quality of the work and their responsibility to readers and their community. Newspapers certainly are in the business of making money, but they are also in the business of getting out the news. It's entirely possible to do both; it's also possible to have conflict between both aims, which as any newspaper person will tell you happens more than a bit.

However, a newspaper that serves the public trust is also smart business, as many people will choose to buy the paper based on the criteria. When my local newspaper abused that trust, for example, it lost my business. Simple.

Sal Towse | October 31, 2005 11:27 AM

1) 7d/wk subscription to the San Francisco Chronicle.

2) Sure, I could read it online, but the Web site layout means that I tend to read the headlines and never see the article at the bottom of page 17 plus I tend not to bring a laptop to the breakfast table and when else do you read Dear Abby? The paper gives me a feel for what's going on and their entertainment listings are pretty thorough. Letters to the Editor make me shake my head and yip a bit at times, but that's what LttE are for, no?

3) We'd drop the subscription if we started traveling more. Maybe. Right now my auntie K, who comes in to watch the cat and enjoy city life while we're away, considers the Chronicle an essential piece of the city life. She'd walk up to the newsstand at the top of the hill and buy a copy, if one weren't delivered to the doorstep.

Stripes | October 31, 2005 11:27 AM


  1. I don't subscribe, a number of years ago I did subscribe to my then-local paper The Washington Post. At one point I also subscribed to The Onion, but I think that is different.

  • I didn't read the paper much when I subscribed and it was a lot of paper to carry to the trash and far more tinder then I needed. I do read papers online sometimes, but not frequently in the same depth as I did in paper (partly because the navigation isn't what it could be, and partly because I don't feel the same obligation when I don't have the shear mass of unread paper!). I also skim the world events at the bbc's online page (the UK may be just as tilted as we are in world views, but the tilt is at least a bit different..and it is interesting to see america reported about as a whole other country doing stuff that could be good or bad).
  • Geeze, I don't know what would convince me. I guess if something convinced me that the news I was getting online wasn't accurate, or was some how lacking and that a newspaper did a better job.
  • Livia Llewellyn | October 31, 2005 11:31 AM

    1) I don't subscribe to any papers, online or in print. On Sundays, I pick up the NYTimes.

    2) I don't subscribe because I got tired of paying for subscriptions that never came, or did come but were usually torn up or wet. I also got tired of arguing with my various "neighbors" about why the newspaper was mine and not theirs, and that the paper wasn't "free" because they got to it first.

    3) I'll never subscribe to a paper again until I'm living in housing that guarantees I won't be involved in 6am fistfights with people trying to steal it. Until then, I can buy my Sunday Times and surf the net.

    Wan Zafran | October 31, 2005 11:34 AM

    1. Well, back in Malaysia I used to subscribe to a couple of newspapers, before I came to know that the Internet's a lot quicker when it comes to getting news. (In Malaysia, Internet news is hellishly faster.)

    Credibility-wise, some Internet sources aren't very consistent, but as I get my news from trustable places, I'm happy enough.


    2. There's something about getting a bundle of paper with words printed on them that makes the experience vastly different to getting the latest news online. Think of reading an e-book, versus reading a normal book. You just want to cuddle up with it, gawk at it, and smell the hot ink on it.

    That, and the fact that I trust newspaper journalists a lot more than online writers. Probably because it's far more difficult to get away with bad facts in traditional newspapers than it is to get away with bad facts in online newspapers. That being said, I do read with a discerning mind, and I don't blindly accept all that is written, as the truth.


    3. Well, I will always be subscribing to at least one newspaper, that, I know. I'll stop reading newspapers when and if their content becomes too sensationalized.

    Jann | October 31, 2005 11:39 AM

    Yes, we subscribe to the Denver Post. (And a weekly local newspaper.) We subscribe because we live too far from town to make a Sunday morning trek enjoyable, and I love to read the Sunday morning paper in the quiet with my coffee and then do the crossword puzzle. I only have time to do this once a week (the other days I just pick up the free local daily and listen to NPR), and would prefer to just get Sunday delivery, however, my husband reads the paper every day pretty religiously. I hate the recycling mess, and sometimes I just feel like there are too many trees killed for the amount of actual "news" you are getting. That's one reason I would quit subscribing.

    Liz Case | October 31, 2005 11:41 AM

    1. I don't currently subscribe to any papers. At my previous place, we had a subscription to the Globe and Mail, which I skimmed each evening.

    2. There is way too much hassle associated with a paper subscription in an apartment building, as was nicely described by Livia. For that reason alone, if I do subscribe to any papers in the future, it won't be until I have my own front door.

    3. I'd like to subscribe to a local paper and a national paper, but not until I have my own front door.
    Until then, I'll surf the net, listen to the radio, and hope that I can pick up enough local news with the office gossip.

    Don McArthur | October 31, 2005 11:42 AM

    Yes. Otherwise it is impossible to crap in the morning.

    Susan | October 31, 2005 11:47 AM

    1) Matt and I have a subscription to the San Francisco Chronicle.

    2) Portability, and convenience. We split the paper up--he takes the sections he likes and reads them on the train on the way in to work, and I take the sections I like and read them on the bus on the way in to campus. In a horribly gender-split way, he takes the local news and sports sections, and I take the Datebook (and Food and Wine, but those only come once a week). Matt says the Chronicle is a good source for local Bay Area news, which isn't covered by his regular news sources. (He's kind of a news junkie.) Newspapers are just about perfect for reading on buses and trains, and I really like the comics selection the Chronicle publishes, and it's nice to be able to do the crossword if I have some extra transit time. So that's why we read the actual hard-copy newspaper; we subscribe because that way it comes to the house and we can split it up.

    3) If we ever ended up in a situation where both of us had car commutes to work, we might stop getting the paper, because we'd lose the built-in paper-reading time. As it is, I sometimes don't even touch the paper on the days I work from home.

    Brian | October 31, 2005 11:51 AM

    1) I don't subscribe to any newspapers, online or off.

    2) I don't subscribe because I generally don't have the time to make it through enough of a paper to make it seem worthwhile. I feel that I can get a good enough grasp of current events by scanning blogs and the free articles from various online sources (CNN, Fox News, etc.)

    3) It'd take an awful lot for me to subscribe to a newspaper right now. I'm generally satisfied with what I can get online, though some community news might be a good addition to my info intake. Mainly, I'd have to suddenly sprout a whole lot of free time before I'd really even consider it, and even then I'd have a hard time choosing a specific paper. As far as cancelling a hypothetical subscription, I think that any whiff of inferiority of coverage or unacknowledged bias in the dead tree version or a reduction in my available reading time would probably lead me to drop it.

    Jas | October 31, 2005 11:54 AM

    1. Yes, we subscribe to the Sunday Denver Post. No other days.

    2. We only subscribe for Sunday to get the adverts and the funnies, and occasionally for the crossword. The vast bulk of my news intake comes from the Internet.

    3. I suppose we'd stop if they stopped including the things we care about (ads, coupons, funnies) or if the price became prohibitive.

    Night Dog | October 31, 2005 12:01 PM

    1. Yes, we subscribe to the Dallas Morning News.

    2. Habit, I guess. Grew up with newspapers, books, and magazines in the house at all times. Nowadays I read it in the mornings, in between looking at other papers online (The NY Times, Chicago Tribune, etc.).

    3. Would probably only cancel if we moved away.

    Leslie | October 31, 2005 12:08 PM

    1. Don't currently subscribe to any newspapers.

    2. We used to get the Detroit Free Press and as mentioned earlier in this thread, when they went to disgusting union busting behavior we quit. Also used to get the Wall Street Journal but their editorials became even further to the right to the degree that we couldn't countenance giving them money any more. And we live far enough out in the country that it had to be a mail subscription, coming later in the day by which point we had read our news online.

    3. We'll probably re-up with the local (weekly rag) - both for news so local it doesn't make the Ann Arbor News online and for kid craft projects since the kids were complaining about a lack of newspapers last night when carving pumpkins!

    I do agree with you about newspapers having an obligation to the public and my feeling is that most of the newsmedia in this country have fallen down on their responsibilities in a big way in the last 6 years. A change in that behavior might make me more likely to subscribe again.

    Erin | October 31, 2005 12:08 PM

    1. Yes, I subscribe daily to my local paper. To echo a sentiment upthread, it has no competition and it shows. It arrives on our doorstep in the morning, but we read it at dinnertime. I read parts of the NYT and sometimes the Washington Post online on Sundays. Internet and radio provide me with most of my news.

    2. I live in an distant exurb NYC sprawl where even area death doesn't guarantee mention on TV news. There was a gas main break in my town recently, and in order to get any information about it we literally had to wait for the paper the next morning. Also, my husband is a local politics junkie. Plus, we've got a five year old who likes to leaf through it and point out the words she knows.

    3. I can't read my paper without wishing it had some more depth to it. I suspect it is the way it is because anyone looking for depth subscribes to the Times and sucks it up when it comes to local news coverage.

    Matt | October 31, 2005 12:16 PM

    1. I don't subscribe.
    2. A newspaper subscription would generate piles of paper trash, which I'd seldom read but would then have to spend a great deal of time recycling. Web-based news is quicker, searchable, electronically archivable, doesn't turn my fingers black or give me papercuts, and is for the most part garbage-free.
    3. I'm more likely to pay people NOT to litter my doorway with stacks of paper. I'd definitely consider any electronic subscriptions which seem worthwhile.

    Patrick Nielsen Hayden | October 31, 2005 12:22 PM

    (1) Yes, the daily Financial Times.

    (2) Because it's a solidly-edited chronicle of what the reality-based business establishment thinks of current events, and it's not as Americacentric as most of my other daily news inputs. I think all wild-eyed lefties like myself should deliberately and regularly read something like the Financial Times.

    (3) I'd stop if it got too expensive. I can get the same perspectives by other means, but it's convenient to have an FT on my doorstep for the train ride in to work.

    Walker | October 31, 2005 12:25 PM

    Like the general consensus, I don't subscribe to a paper because it's much more convenient, cheaper and all that business to read all my news online or get it from NPR. You should talk to my retired parents’ lives, however, revolve around reading the local paper.

    Dave Munger | October 31, 2005 12:28 PM

    1. Yes -- The Charlotte Observer, offline

    2. I mainly read the comics, local news, and local sports. There's also a bit of nostalgia -- I had a paper route when I was a kid, and so I think I have some sentimentality that I associate with newsprint and reading from the printed page.

    3. Significant cuts in comics, local news, and local sports would definitely do it. Or maybe me just getting my act together and figuring out how to find all this stuff online.

    Anonymous | October 31, 2005 12:30 PM

    1) Yes, Portland Press Herald (Maine, not Oregon)

    2) Mainly to havea steady source of news for when I don't have time to surf for it... allows me to get my news and the daily comics in bathrom friendly form. Also, used papers come in handy for lighting the fireplace in the winter.

    3. What would make me stop subscribing? Large increase in cost... change to news that is slanted a la Fox News, or a switch to non-flammable newsprint.

    Q | October 31, 2005 12:31 PM

    1) Yes, Portland Press Herald (Maine, not Oregon)

    2) Mainly to havea steady source of news for when I don't have time to surf for it... allows me to get my news and the daily comics in bathrom friendly form. Also, used papers come in handy for lighting the fireplace in the winter.

    3. What would make me stop subscribing? Large increase in cost... change to news that is slanted a la Fox News, or a switch to non-flammable newsprint.

    Laura | October 31, 2005 12:36 PM

    1. No, I do not subscribe to any newspapers.

    2. I suppose my biggest reason for not subscribing is convenience - it's just as easy nowadays to get all the news I need online, and I'm never far away from a computer. If I really need to see a hard copy newspaper article, the library is only two blocks away. And I might as well be honest, even though it makes me sound like a bad person. I live in a fairly rural area. I can get all the national and world news I want from CNN.com or a plethora of other national news sites. Rural newspapers are generally only about 20 pages in length, and 18 of those pages contain nothing but high school sports scores, church notices, and obituaries, none of which I care enough about to pay the cost of a subscription. There, I've said it. Please don't think me an ogre.

    3. Honestly, I have no interest in subscribing to a newspaper. If I need something from the paper badly enough, then it's worth it to me to pay fifty cents or a dollar to buy the newspaper I need (or pay the dime to photocopy it at the library,) rather than paying to receive a daily paper that I'll never read. Besides, if I have time to sit down and read, then I'd rather read a novel.

    P.s. I really like the new layout!

    Derryl Murphy | October 31, 2005 12:53 PM

    1. No

    2. I live in a small city, distant from anywhere, and the lone daily paper is a godawful rag. I've tried twice, and both times couldn't make it last.

    3. I would subscribe to the Globe and Mail (this being Canada) if they delivered here, but they don't. So I just buy the Saturday edition.

    D

    Dan-o | October 31, 2005 12:54 PM

    1. Yes. L.A. Times Sunday edition.
    2. My wife wants the coupons (I'm a humble civil servant), and my daughter and I read the comics together.
    3. I would stop subscribing if they dropped the "Best of the Peanuts" comic strip. But then, so would everyone else.

    Vardibidian | October 31, 2005 01:00 PM

    1. No subscriptions at present, or for the last two years. In the past, I have subscribed to the Philadelphia Inquirer, the San Francisco Chronicle, and the Boston Globe, when I lived in the appropriate areas. For a few of the Boston years, I didn't subscribe to the Globe, but bought it every day at the T station.

    3. I would subscribe if I once again had a commute on public transit, allowing me to read the paper on my way in to work. Particularly if I lived sufficiently far out that I didn't pass by a news-stand or news-guy between my home and the station.

    2. I moved to a small town, and then to a smaller one, and haven't had a commute, so (a) no local daily with local news, and (2) I can read a good deal of what I want of the non-local news on the Internet (NYT, WPost, SFChron, Guardian, GoogleNews, APWire) without paying, moving, or spending non-reading time. On the subscription front, though, I'll add that I prefer to buy my paper from a human being, when possible, and when I'm not paying double. In Ess Eff in 1991-3, for a while I subscribed to the Examiner and bought the Chron at a stand, then I subscribed to the Chron and bought the Examiner at a stand, then I gave up on the Examiner and bought the Chron at a stand.

    Thanks,
    -V.

    Eilidh | October 31, 2005 01:01 PM

    1. I subscribe to my local paper daily.
    2. We are relatively new to the community (1 year in January) and the paper really puts us in touch with local history, politics and issues in a way the TV news does not. It also helps us to feel apart of the community. We are in the second large city in a metro area dominated by the "big city" so most of our news never makes it on TV.
    3. I don't think anything would cause us to unsubscribe short of the paper being written by chimpanzees.

    Dawn B. | October 31, 2005 01:03 PM

    1. No. I don't subscribe to any newspaper, online or off. I've considered a NYT online, but that's it.

    2. I don't subscribe to paper version 'cause I wouldn't read it and it would just be a waste of trees. Also, I did paper carrying for years and my parents still work in the business. The feel of newsprint just bugs me and makes me think of cold mornings before 5 AM and long walks, not news. I don't subscribe to online versions because I can get most of what I want via their free areas or from the local news radio station, which I listen to every day on the way to work and home. I get a lot of local & national & world news that way.

    3. I might subscribe to an online version that I could RSS that had a good local (SF Bay Area), national (slightly liberal or centrist) and world reporting as well as a decent science section. But I kinda doubt it.

    Donna | October 31, 2005 01:03 PM

    1. Yes, my local paper.

    2. Why? Two reasons. First, although the local paper is available online, their website is frequently behind by a full day, so local news is even staler by the time they get around to updating their online service. Two, I spend enough time sitting in front of a computer during the day. I want to sit down in a squashy chair and read the paper.

    3. Well, really crummy service would probably motivate me, but that's about it. I can't stand soundbite news on television, and anything really indepth I can get online, so this suits me just fine.

    Simon | October 31, 2005 01:04 PM

    1. I subscribe to my town's local daily paper.

    2. I get lots of news from the web, but I continue to subscribe because 1) I like a "push" template, especially for local news; 2) I like a format that sums up all the news once a day, without my missing things or having to dig for them if I'm not on the web; 3) I like a medium that allows me to read the news while eating breakfast, which is difficult to do at the computer; 4) I've been a subscriber for a long time, so why stop; 5) I believe I owe my local paper a modicum of financial support if I expect it to continue to exist.

    3. Twice in the past, while living elsewhere than where I am now, I have cancelled newspaper subscriptions, both times for the same reason: really bad delivery service.

    Corey Porter | October 31, 2005 01:15 PM

    1. Nope.
    2. 2. I'm able to get all the news I need from the wires. Getting them via RSS is a whole lot easier than plowing through a newspaper.
    3. 3. If they could somehow know to deliver a paper *only* the morning of some sort of messy project at home, I would totally subscribe. It's a pain to have to run to the grocery for newspaper every time my son wants to paint something.

    Ohako | October 31, 2005 01:26 PM

    1. Yes, I subscribe to the Boston Globe


    2. I subscribe to the Boston Globe because a)I like to know about news of the world, b)I like to read the news actively, that is without a passive bent placed upon it, and c)It's got lots of different stuff in there.


    3. I would unsubscribe if the Boston Globe became the Boston Herald.



    Two points



    I also use Google News with no search filters on it, and it gives the paper a run for its money in terms of objectivity (or at least 'multiple subjectivity') and content.


    I actually got _onto_ the Boston local news at one point because they were running a scare story on fake bulletproof vests becoming fashionable, and I was (literally) a man on the street. In the morning I was treated to recognition for my two-second sound bite by several of my co-workers...which let me know that these people watched the local news dreck.

    John H | October 31, 2005 01:37 PM

    1) I don't subscribe, per se. But I do buy the Chicago Tribune from a newsstand before getting on the train in the morning. I also have a free account to chicagotribune.com which I mainly use to link back to the actual article when I talk about something I read in the paper.

    2) I don't subscribe because it is just as easy to pick up the paper when I'm at the train station. I also prefer not to give my name and address to a company known for selling its subscriber list to anybody that comes along - I get enough telemarketing calls already.

    3) Given the abundance of news outlets, I don't know that I would ever see a need to subscribe. As it is, I really only scan the paper for those stories I haven't already heard about on NPR.

    Chris Hansen | October 31, 2005 01:37 PM

    1. Do I subscribe?

    No, not for about eight years now.

    2. Why do you subscribe or not subscribe?

    Several reasons. First, the only thing I read every day in the paper was the comics and between RSS and a 10$US/year subscription to comics.com I get all I had before plus a lot more.

    Second, I subscribe to about 100 RSS feeds, some local, a couple from the local papers. I feel I get adequate coverage that way.

    Third, while both of the major local papers have a different editorial bent, they share too much staff and ownership for me to be completely comfortable that they are independent of each other. I feel that there is too much background collaboration about direction and that journalistic integrity is somewhat compromised. Nothing specific, but enough of a suspicion to not want it in my house. There is a local free paper that often has far more of the public trust in mind, at least it appears to.

    3. If you don't subscribe to a newspaper, what might convince you to subscribe?

    It would take an independent third press running local to get me to subscribe. Even then, it would have to be an electronic subscription - I feel no need to kill a tree just so I can have the fleeting convenience of portability.

    Kate | October 31, 2005 01:47 PM

    1. Yes, and I read it.

    2. They have a web site, but I like to browse through it in the morning while eating breakfast. I've always read the local paper. I also read the NY Times, the Washington Post, the paper in my old hometown, CNN, Salon, the BBC, and a number of comic strips online. I just like to read.

    3. I guess if I lived in a little town where the local paper headlines the activities of the Women's Sunday School Prayer Breakfast, yeah, I'd skip that. (The day before Easter last year, the paper in my grandma's town had the headline, "Jesus Lives." Not exactly news. How'd you like to be a Jew in *that* town? Yeesh.)

    I read the local paper for local events, obits, and the comics. I recycle the paper, even though it's a pain in the ass to do so. They would have to really change to make me unsub.

    RooK | October 31, 2005 01:51 PM

    1: No.

    2: I feel that I get adequate news online, and I find newspapers a little annoyingly contrived. It's a personaly idiosyncrasy.

    3: If the internet were to fold up and go away, I'd be willing to pay for some alternate means of getting information. A newspaper would be preferable to TV on that count.

    And let me say: That's a lot of gorram respondants already. I knew the Whatever had pull, but I had no real idea how much.

    Kenneth | October 31, 2005 01:55 PM

    1. No.

    2. The cost-to-benefit ratio is too high. I watch TV news coverage (local, national network, CNN) as well as checking a couple of online news sources regularly. (I like the Guardian and Haaretz to get some different perspectives.) If something is that important, I'll follow up by online searches, buying a newspaper, or picking up magazine coverage.

    When a housemate has subscribed to either the major local daily or to the NYT, I find that I don't always get to every day's paper and it seems like a waste.

    3. What I do subscribe to, albeit online, is daily email delivery of comic strips from two national syndicates.

    James Goodman | October 31, 2005 02:04 PM

    1. Yes.

    2. Purely for entertainment. Sadly, I feel that most of the news reported in my local paper is heavily biased and usually suspect as to its true intentions.

    3. If they stopped running the section that talks about books and publishing related subjects. Well that and if they stopped printing the crossword puzzles. :)

    Nathan Neulinger | October 31, 2005 02:08 PM

    1. Yes

    2. Local small-town news, coupons/ads

    3. Already think it's almost worthless, but the ads/and occasional local news are just barely enough to keep us subscribed.

    Ted Lemon | October 31, 2005 02:20 PM

    1) No, I do not subscribe.

    2) Dead trees. Ink that rubs off on my hands. Accumulating piles of paper that need to be hauled off for recycling. Bad reporting.

    3) I think if you threatened to kill me and all my family if I didn't subscribe, and I believed both that you had both the ability and the intention to do that, then I would subscribe.

    Newspapers are dead. Not because what's replacing them is better, but because newspapers were never that good, and now their economic niche is becoming so small that they're becoming even less good.

    However, I will confess that I am probably atypical anyway. The fetish for "keeping up with what is going on" is widely sold and widely purchased in this country, but in fact I think that reading newspapers doesn't accomplish this purpose, because newspaper reporters (and the press in general) report on the story you are intended to understand, rather than the story as it really affects you.

    So for example we get all this reporting about Supreme Court justices, and it focuses on one thing: will they repeal Roe v. Wade or not? Not "will they protect the country from an out-of-control executive branch." Not "will basic human decency affect how they rule?" Not even "what can I do to influence what is happening." So they miss the point, and provide us with no tools with which to take action. They place us in the role of powerless consumer of carefully shaped information. So what's the point of reading them?

    Frankly, I'm much more interested in what you have to say here in your blog about photography than I am about what the New York Times has to say about Bush's latest Supreme Court cannon fodder.

    Simon | October 31, 2005 02:24 PM

    Reading the other comments after making my post, I have two additional of my own:

    1) I do not consider news worthless because it's a full eight hours old.

    2) I will only watch television news when I'm on vacation and away from the web, and for some reason can't get a newspaper. (I refuse to lug a laptop with me everywhere I go.) The last time I watched tv news at home to any extent was during a local disaster that hit 15 years ago. Nowadays when I want hot breaking news, I go to the web and keep hitting the reload button. I followed 9/11 that way: didn't see one scrap of that on TV. Later on, I got good background feature articles in print in newspapers and newsmagazines.

    Josh | October 31, 2005 02:28 PM

    1. No.


    2. My wife works for the local paper - so we get a free copy. However, if I lived alone, I still wouldn't. Frankly, if something is important enough that I should know about it, it'll be all over the web.

    3. As far as I know, nothing would make me subscribe.

    Chris | October 31, 2005 02:38 PM

    1) No.

    2) I read both local papers on-line. I also prefer real-time news via the radio.

    3) I can't think of anything that would make me pay money for a waste of trees.

    Dwight Brown | October 31, 2005 02:47 PM

    1) No.
    2) I guess I'm kind of an odd duck. While I don't subscribe to any papers, I purchase the *Houston Chronicle* seven days a week from machines, convienience stores, or newsstands. I guess the reason I don't actually subscribe is because purchasing it late in the afternoon fits in better with how I read the paper than picking it up in the morning.
    I actually live in Austin, Texas, which would make my local paper the *Austin American-Statesman* rather than the *HouChron*. I don't subscribe to that paper because my office has a subscription, so I can read it there five days a week. (I do purchase the Sunday *AAS* as well as the *HouChron*.)
    (For what it may be worth, I also read at least parts of the *WP*, *LAT*, and *NYT* online at least five days a week.)
    3) I consider subscribing to the *HouChron* from time to time, just because I suspect it might be cheaper than purchasing it daily. Other than my comments above, I really can't say what would actually make me subscribe: maybe extra Internet content, such as access to archives, for subscribers?

    Jon Marcus | October 31, 2005 02:53 PM

    1) I subscribe the the Chicago Tribune and two local (suburban) weeklies. (Wednesday Journal and Forest Leaves).


    2) For the Trib: Comics, sharing stories with my kids (5 & 8) over breakfast, force of habit. For the locals, passable coverage of local municipal goings on.


    3) Some drastic change, probably. (Price spike, sudden drop in credibility, etc.) If I did subscribe to the NYT, I'd probably be dropping it over the Pinch & Judy show.

    kevin | October 31, 2005 02:56 PM

    1) Not anymore

    2) Becasue the local paper is horrible, horrible, horrible. It never, ever rises above the level of "See Dick run!" in its coverage of anything.

    3) A better paper.

    Nance | October 31, 2005 02:57 PM

    1) Yes. I'm a newspaper junkie and a journalist (currently unemployed, but busy freelancing). I get the NYT and WSJ home-delivered, and read the local papers online.

    2) My situation -- dead-tree for the national rags and online for the locals -- is probably the opposite of what most people prefer. Hard to say why I like it this way, but I'll try to do so briefly: The older I get, the less tolerant I am of being talked down to or patronized, especially before my morning coffee kicks in, and the local papers are far more likely to do that. Only the bigs (NYT, WSJ, WashPost) seem to be written and edited for people with more than half a functioning brain. That sounds facile and elitist, I know. But to me, it's the difference between starting your day with NPR or the Today show. No contest here.

    3) I will probably take a local a.m. daily when I feel I can open the paper and not see, more than once a season, a root-root-root-for-the-home-team sports story, a tear-jerker about some dead soldier's mourning family (unless it's just f*cking spectacularly well done) or a "smart parenting" feature that tells me how to live my life. I also demand sharp writing in clear, smart voices and pungent editorials.

    Firebyrd | October 31, 2005 03:00 PM

    1. Yes, we subscribe to the local, really crappy print paper...

    2. ...because it's cheaper and more convenient for lining bird cages than paying for pre-cut cage liners.

    3. We'd stop our subscription if we came upon an easy, more cost effective way to catch bird poop.

    M.A. | October 31, 2005 03:02 PM

    1. No

    2. I work for a Journalism school. Any paper I'd want to read is here; I don't need them at home too.

    3. Probably nothing. On-line news is cheaper and more current, and local news is best reported in several free local papers (also available at the office.).

    Scott | October 31, 2005 03:44 PM


    -I don't subscribe to a newspaper. Any free registration sites of the news variety I kind of steal from with bugmenot. Pay subscription sites don't get read by Y.T.

    -Because I wouldn't read it. I don't even read the novels that I want to read, why would I read a newspaper full of stuff I don't want to think about? Also, it generates a lot of garbage. I was subscribed to The Daily News (in Los Angeles) for about a month, because I needed to generate some throw-away surfaces for miniature-model trimming, filing and painting.

    -It would require that I actually believe that I will enjoy reading it, and that I have the spare time to do so. There is enjoyment to be had in learning stuff, so to a certain extent being full of more interesting news items on a highly regular basis would satisfy that. Though I also don't like Newspaper Writing Style. And in any case where reporters get things wrong and I know it, I get very sad, because I know there are other things I don't know enough about to know what they got wrong, and I know that other people don't know as much as I do (about certain things) and they might not know what's wrong with what I just read. Really, that's the most important thing right there. Not the only thing, but easily the most important. Never Get Anything Wrong.

    darren | October 31, 2005 03:47 PM

    Used to. My wife has a degree in journalism and has written for several small papers and the Kansas City Star. She got tired of the slave labor hours and draconian editors. We had a subsciption to the Oregonion when we moved to Portland, but dropped it for the New York Times. My wife is the paper reader. I stick to the onion. I read the free weekly Willamette Week (where I first discovered you John) and mostly get my news and info on the internet. The New York Times is an excellent paper but for $500 a year, I want it delivered to the table ready to go with a hot cup of coffee. The delivery person however didn't see it my way and couldn't even be bothered to get it to the front step. It may seem petty to drop an otherwise good news source over it being thrown into the middle of the yard, but we did.

    Imani | October 31, 2005 04:14 PM

    Yes i subscribe to the LA Times, and for two reasons...I want to know what is going on locally and I got the year subscription for $56.00 for 365 days of delivery! I probably wouldn't subscribe otherwise. It reads much like a tabloid to me. I moved to LA from DC a year ago, so i still read the Washington Post online. I also pay for my parents' subscription to the Sunday NY Times. They are news junkies, fans of Broadway and their local paper doesn't cut it for them.

    BTW...love your blog.

    Mari | October 31, 2005 04:15 PM

    Do you subscribe to a newspaper? No, I don't.

    Why do you subscribe or not subscribe? I get my news mostly from our local NBC affiliate, as well as MSNBC and CNN online. I tried to subscribe to the Lexington Herald-Leader, my local paper, about a month back. The person got my name wrong (my name isn't Mark), missed giving me my one month free, and gave me the wrong subscription plan. I canceled and told them please not to call me asking for further subscriptions.

    If you don't subscribe to a newspaper, what might convince you to subscribe? Erm, perhaps the ability to get my information right for one thing. Prompt and reliable delivery for another.

    Bryan W | October 31, 2005 04:30 PM

    1) I subscribe to the local Independent and the Chicago Tribune.
    2) Local news and politics in my town of 20K for the Independent and sports, politics and comics from the Tribune
    3) I still get most of my news from the web. I get perspective, insight, incite, and entertainment from the paper. If the amount of entertainment decreases or the service were to become poor, I would get rid of the paper again. When I lived in Louisville, KY, the local paper got bought by Gannett and it went downhill fast. I pulled my subscription just as fast.

    JonathanMoeller | October 31, 2005 04:45 PM

    1.) No.

    2.) I really would rather not spend the money, and I read all my news (and comic strips) off the Internet anyway.

    3.) A date with the publisher's swimsuit-model daughter.

    betsarms | October 31, 2005 04:53 PM

    1. Yep. The Sacramento Bee.
    2. Good question. I work in politics, so it's good to read how my work world comes across in print in the morning before I hit the office. However, it truly is my morning ritual with coffee, and I read the entire paper except for sports.
    3. I've actually canceled my subscription twice due to the tardiness of deliver; I've resubscribed when they've changed the carrier.

    Anne KG Murphy | October 31, 2005 05:31 PM

    1. No.

    2. Like many people, I find newspapers pile up unread and become clutter. Bill's mom saves the Sunday comics for us from two Chicago papers so that and online comics satisfy my comics fix. Local people online keep me updated as to local events of interest to me, and I try to help push info into that online pool of current knowledge. I get international news through the internet, the radio, and my husband, who tracks it much better than I do. Also, the local paper kind of sucks. I delivered it for six years when I was younger- it has always been this way.

    3. I can't imagine subscribing to a Newspaper, but I can imagine subscribing to a news service. In order to attract me it would have to be interesting, well written, dependable, trustworthy, relevant and personalizable, and maintain a corrected archive. That is to say, corrections to articles must be produced *with* the original articles. Articles would also include forward links to new developments on the same topic so that if someone referred me to something, I would rapidly find the most current news about it. Optimally references to sources would include links to source documents, where possible. Every *news* article would have the name of a real person associated with it, and the service would have a recommender system by which people could rate articles and authors on several counts. Ideally this system would be transparent so I could ask to see things written by people who were trusted or recommended by people I trust. Or something like that.

    Joe Hass | October 31, 2005 05:42 PM

    1) I have a hard-copy Sunday only subscription to the Detroit News and Free Press, and an electronic subscription to the Wall Street Journal, in addition to free registration on the New York Times and Chicago Tribune)

    2) We take the Sunday paper solely for the coupons, and only because we get it for $1/week (instead of $1.50 from the rack [or occasionally $1] or $2 for Sunday-only home delivery). I may break open the sports section, but that's not a guarantee. I read the WSJ daily for news coverage that's intelligent and very well written.

    2 1/2) There was a time when I took both the News and Free Press 7 days, but the combination of the mediocre or worse writing, a significant increase in wire copy and the free availability on the Web, caused me to drop both. After my wife and I were married, we decided to pick up the paper again with a discounted rate. Two other tidbits: when I lived in OKC, I bought the Dallas Morning News daily, but never subscribed. When I lived in NYC, I bought at least one paper every day, and all four on Sunday.

    3a) Why would I drop the Sunday paper: a) if I had to pay the regular home delivery price of $2, as I don't think the paper is worth more than $1 as is; b) if we could get the coupons via the Web (most of the circulars are already there; SmartSource's Web coupon availability is very poor in comparison).

    3b) Why would I pick up a 7-day subscription: a) Improved writing (pet peeve: I don't give two [expletive deleted] wits about a man-on-the-streets's obvious opinion that more money for schools is good in the fourth graf of a story on why people don't want to support a tax increase for schools); b) More unique articles (meaning articles written by the staff); c) using the Web as a value addition (more commentary, updated stories, in-depth features that work well [see msnbc.com], not just cut-and-paste of wire copy). Please note that I have no problem paying for a good paper: I'd gladly pay $2/week for a Sunday paper that made me feel like I got my $2 worth. I however, refuse to pay $1 for a paper that's worth 50 cents.

    Pavel | October 31, 2005 05:53 PM

    1. No.

    2. Too much money, not worth the effort. I pretty much avoid all news, as I don't think it's actively relevant to my day-to-day existance.

    3. Maybe if it was free, or someone guilt-tripped me into it. Actually, it's mostly that content is lame. I'd been tempted to sign up for Make Magazine, or maybe even Discover.

    Jennifer | October 31, 2005 05:54 PM

    1. Do you subscribe to a newspaper?

    No.

    2. Why do you subscribe or not subscribe?

    Because I used to work for the local paper, and they laid me off. For obvious reasons, I don't particularly want to read that paper any more.
    Even when I worked there I didn't have a subscription, though, because you could pick up free papers whenever you wanted at work.

    3. If you don't subscribe to a newspaper, what might convince you to subscribe?

    Well, if my own work history wasn't a factor, that'd be one reason. And if I lived in a house instead of an apartment complex, I might be more likely to get a subscription.

    Shelly | October 31, 2005 06:00 PM

    We subscribe to the NY Daily News. Hubby likes to read it with breakfast which the morning delivery makes possible. I buy my own copy on the way to work and read it there (I get to work generally 20-30 minutes early and eat breakfast there).

    chibent | October 31, 2005 06:12 PM


    1. No.

    2. When I have had subscriptions in the past, the papers have stacked up unread, because I never quite sat down to just read the paper. More importantly, I read the news from several sources online, and I prefer the flexibility and tree-friendliness of that.

    3. I might subscribe to a newspaper if I moved to a place without internet access. I also might subscribe if there were no other way to get information I wanted - for instance, I subscribed to "The Budget" for a while while researching Amish culture.

    Elizabeth | October 31, 2005 06:21 PM

    1. No
    2. I can't afford it right now. I used to subscibe to the NY Times (paper weekdays edition). I don't subscribe to my local paper because the news is usually not very well done and I have no interest in sports or "human interest".
    3. If I could afford it, I'd subscribe to the NYTimes Select. I miss the editorial pages. I would subscribe to the local paper if they actually reported local news rather than fluff pieces and sports stragey.

    David Gorsline | October 31, 2005 06:35 PM

    1. Yes, the Sunday New York Times, as well as several weekly, monthly, and quarterly magazines.

    2. Sunday morning with the paper, with or without a partner, is a slice of civilization. I spend about two hours (= 3 mugs of coffee) reading it. I fell that I can scan and read more of the content of the paper in broadsheet form than on a screen. Haven't put this hypothesis to a test. I also clip articles for later reference.

    3. A steep increase in subscription prices, say 5x.

    Byron | October 31, 2005 06:40 PM

    1. I don't subscribe to any newspaper, online or off.

    2. Offline, paper usage. Even a college Daily generates way too much paper waste. Beyond that there are several reasons: One, a lot of dead tree papers seem to have cut back on staff and switched to wire reports, which I can get online for free. These new free little papers, like the Metro in Boston, seem to be exclusively wire reports. Two, I prefer longer form opinion pieces than those typically found in daily newspapers.

    3. Truly excellent reporting. By and large, I find the reporting in my areas of expertise pretty bad (in all professional news media, not just newspaper. Newspapers are if anything a little better than the rest), which makes me suspicious of the reporting outside of my news area. Truly in-depth local news might also sway me. Actually, in-depth in general makes me pretty happy.

    Dinesh Rao | October 31, 2005 06:48 PM

    1) No.

    2) I buy the newspaper from the stands on weekends, because I tend to enjoy the supplements rather than the news. Plus the weekends supplements tend to have reviews and more editorial content.

    3) I would subscribe if the newspaper allowed me an option of what sections I could buy. (the house always piles up with unread property guides and cars and sport and...etc)

    Bob | October 31, 2005 06:49 PM

    1) Yes, I subscribe to my local paper, the San Jose Mercury News. Not a stellar paper, but not a bad one, either. I supplement my newspaper reading with online news, and with NPR. TV news is a joke.

    2) My folks always got at least two newspapers a day; I've been reading them since the age of eight, and before that if you include the comics. To me, sitting down at breakfast with the paper is an integral part of the day.

    MattArnold | October 31, 2005 06:52 PM

    1. No.

    2. I have the internets, and people leave the paper laying around the office for those rare times I see a headline that I don't know already and care about.

    3. A print version of the del.icio.us Most Popular list, and good web comics, which are better than paper comics.

    Wolfgang | October 31, 2005 07:32 PM

    1. No, I don't subscribe to any newspaper.

    2. I don't want outdated paper when I can get timely HTML online. Any why pay when the online sources are free?

    3. I would subscribe if some online venues offered tailored content (by writer, by topic, and by region). Also, much better comics.

    It would have to be a la carte rather than a set fee. I only want to pay for the content I want to read.

    Chuck | October 31, 2005 07:59 PM

    1. I subscribe to the Sunday New York Times.

    2. Content that's not available online, and where the timeliness of hard news isn't as much an issue.

    3. I'd cancel tomorrow if I could get full graphics, photography and crosswords in a portable electronic format.

    Bill Humphries | October 31, 2005 08:37 PM

    1. I subscribe to dead tree (San Jose) Mercury News, and Daily Variety (online).

    2. For the Mercury News, out of habit, mainly. I used to like the writers in the business section. For Daily Variety, it's $100 a year for an online subscription vs. $250 for dead tree. I can scan every article via RSS and read the ones that matter to me.

    3. Since Dan Gillmor left the Mercury, the paper's declined. Its technology columnists can't stand it that Apple's winning in the Marketplace and they can't cheerlead for HP since that company's pissed away its heart and soul. The paper's been writing uncritical puff pieces about evangelicals. I don't think a "christian rock" festival rates above the fold, page one coverage. However, the paper's saving grace is that there are some decent investigative journalists working for Knight-Ridder.

    Audrey Estock | October 31, 2005 09:27 PM

    1. No.

    2. Lack on money and somewhat lack of interest. I pick up a copy of the local newspaper every once in a while, but I don't exactly trust it for reporting news. Not to mention I can get most of the news I care about online, through weblogs or actual news sites.

    3. For the newspapers to be more outspoken about issues, instead of simply either ignoring them or trying to pander to one side or the other, and instead showed the actual article writer's opinion on their topic. And if the comics were better.

    doubt | October 31, 2005 09:36 PM

    1. No. Used to subscribe to the Washington Post and the English edition of some Japanese newspaper (Asashi Shinbun? Mainichi News? I don't remember) via RSS, but didn't keep it up, and it's not what you're looking for anyway.

    2. The actual paper is a nusiance. It tended to pile up in a corner, and I never read enough of it to make it remotely worthwhile. Had the same problem with magazines, actually, so I no longer carry any print subscriptions whatsoever.

    3. An actual paper newspaper? Almost nothing. I've moved almost entirely online for my news (both specialized and general), and I'd pay for someone who'd produce a custom RSS feed that only had stuff I was interested in (i.e., something that wouldn't overload my like most news RSS feeds do). But that's about it. I suppose I might pay for someone who produced a small print version of the same thing (maybe 4-6 pages), but probably not, as I don't really see the point.

    rayyy | October 31, 2005 10:14 PM

    1. Subscribe?
    Yes. The Economist, print edition.

    2. Why?
    Excellent *analysis* of recent events. Good reporting of background and context. Balanced. And it gives me something to read offline.

    3. Why would I quit?
    If quality fell or price rose too much then I'd re-evaluate the options.

    rayyy | October 31, 2005 10:15 PM

    Why do you ask, by the way?

    Chris Gabel | October 31, 2005 10:17 PM

    1. Yes, but only to the suburban weekly - not the major local daily (or any other daily).

    2. Nothing terribly wrong with the Portland Oregonian, but I found I rarely read it & man does it accumulate....I just pick it up when I have the inclination. There's no shortage of news sources. Why pay to clutter your home?

    3. Hard to say. How about....make it really interesting. In fairness - they can't really compete with the content I can find by myself.

    wil | October 31, 2005 10:19 PM

    1. Nope, not in the past 15 years.

    2. The local paper did a hatchet job on me that cost me my job and indirectly my health - why should I support them? I get the news for "free" online and pickup a copy if there is something that requires the use of hardcopy. Oh, say, the garage sale ads or a friend's obituary.

    3. At this point I'm just a vindictive old bastard. I suppose they'll have a subscription to some rag in the old folks' home, so I can envision arguing over the paper with the other residents -- it'll be one of the things that makes the day go by...

    Margaret | October 31, 2005 10:37 PM

    1. Yep, subscribe to the local daily and have for many years. It frequently drives me crazy, but I keep subscribing.

    2. I get national and international news from the Net, but if I want to know what madness is currently running unchecked through the city council or on the school board, that is best learned from the local paper. Plus, you know, the funnies.

    3. I feel disconnected from my community without a glance at the paper in the morning. The only thing that might make me drop it is (further and even more drastic) loss of local coverage.

    Harry Connolly | October 31, 2005 10:52 PM

    1. Nope.

    2. I used to work for the local daily. It's faltering. It's also hide-bound and filled with press releases masquerading as news. When I want local news, I turn to a free weekly.

    Not that it matters. I barely have time to glance through a weekly tabloid. I wouldn't have time to read a daily paper, and the clutter of unread papers would make me nuts.

    3. I'd consider subscribing if I had more free time. I might get the NY Times or the big local daily. But it would have to be a lot more time.

    Harry Connolly | October 31, 2005 10:52 PM

    1. Nope.

    2. I used to work for the local daily. It's faltering. It's also hide-bound and filled with press releases masquerading as news. When I want local news, I turn to a free weekly.

    Not that it matters. I barely have time to glance through a weekly tabloid. I wouldn't have time to read a daily paper, and the clutter of unread papers would make me nuts.

    3. I'd consider subscribing if I had more free time. I might get the NY Times or the big local daily. But it would have to be a lot more time.

    William Crawford | October 31, 2005 10:53 PM

    I've subscribed to the WSJ online since it was first launched, and have the paper edition of the New York Times delivered on the weekends, since I still like reading news on paper, particularly the less time-sensitive bits like the Times Magazine.

    I also take the print edition of the Economist, but the rest of my magazine subscriptions aren't time sensitive - the New Yorker, Smithsonian, so I can let them stack up and work through them when I have time. Subway and airplane rides, for instance.

    VAssilissa | November 1, 2005 12:41 AM

    1. No.
    2. A combination of I can't afford it and I'm concerned about the waste. All three of the major newspapers around here seem to exist to sell advertising, and that's a heck of a lot of paper. I get my news from abc.net.au/news (they have a twice-daily email bulletin) and my commentary from the blogs.
    3. Really, really good commentary and dialogue, feminism, about a million times less paper, and not owned by someone whose surname is either Murdoch or Packer.

    Laura | November 1, 2005 12:46 AM

    I subscribe to MacLean's, which is a magazine that talks about last weeks news along with some analysis, research and gloss. The amount of stuff in here is about what time I have in a week to read news.

    I am not interested in any newspaper, because the News or "filler" is simply there to go with the advertising. A lot of the "news" is repeat or format based, and therefore not real or current.

    If there is any real news, I here about it through word-of-mouth, and then I go look in up on the internet.

    Rob | November 1, 2005 03:25 AM

    1. No.

    2. Actually, I work for a newspaper so I get my paper free (nyah nyah). It's an okay paper, but honestly, I look at a lot of other news sources before I take a look at it.

    3.This question that you've posed comes at a very interesting time. Right now, the newpaper industry is going through drastic, almost apocalyptic, changes. Many big papers are in the process of reducing large portions of their editorial staffs, including the paper I work at. In my humble opinion, this is only throwing more dirt on the coffin. I understand it's a business, meaning it's ultimately all about the bottom line—but you're right—it is a public trust. Here where I work, they've been trying different tactics to get folks to read the paper. To make a long story short, all they do is allienate those hardcore readers and miss the target with the casual readers. Now, the bright minds in the nice offices are trying to create a bigger online presence, which is going to be a real trick when we are currently undergoing a buyout/layoff of over 50 positions on our staff this month. All of us worker bees don't know where we're going to find the time to do all this extra stuff for our online version when we're just sqeeking by to get print version out. So yeah, papers (in big metropolitan markets) are going to be dinosaurs when the over fifty-five crowd starts dying off. Personally, I'm planning to get out and do something else. I'll still live here, but I doubt I'll be subscribing to the printed newspaper because it's much more convenient to get news and to find classified ads online (Craigslist, anyone?) and get local news from a free weekly.

    Corina | November 1, 2005 03:55 AM

    1. No offline subscriptions. We got WSJ last year while my husband was a student and the price was low. Online - salon.com

    2. I subscribe because I appreciate the newspapers viewpoint. The free newspapers tend to be more middle of the road and the content is pretty bland. I like to read about the same event from different viewpoints. Salon is far left, WSJ was pretty right (especially the editorial page).

    3. I would subscibe online if the paper charges a reasonable price. Right now, the WSJ is too pricey. I would get a 'paper' paper only if recycling was easy and there was content I could not get online (comics, coupons, advertisements for big sales).

    Captain Button | November 1, 2005 07:34 AM

    IME, local news papers are blatant and unrepentant phone spammers. Every place I've lived has repeatedly harrassed me with unsolicited phone calls.

    Brandon | November 1, 2005 08:00 AM

    1. Offline, I subscribe to the Atlanta Journal Constitution. Online I subscribe to Salon.com.

    2. I subscribe offline because a) I enjoy reading the paper at night b) I like the comics and c) I like the Jumble.

    3. I'd stop subscribing offline if they dropped the comic pages. Sad, yes, but truth ain't always pretty.

    Mikhail Capone | November 1, 2005 10:56 AM

    I subscribe to Le Devoir, which pretty much the best newspaper here in Quebec. I get most of my international and US news online, but for stuff closer to home, that newspaper is great.

    LAJ | November 1, 2005 02:29 PM

    1) I subscribe to USA Today.

    2) I am an American expatriate living near London in the UK. I mainly get it for the US-centered news and sports coverage. I subscribe as my local newsagent's supply is hit-and-miss. Since I live near London my copy is delivered by courier instead of being sent by post. The paper is printed here so the news is fairly current. I will probably continue to subscribe as long as I can afford it.

    day ruane | November 1, 2005 02:36 PM

    NO! Why should I? Most of the breaking news is free, i.e., NPR. If I am feeling particularly weird about getting something for nothing, I click a banner ad so the company feels that they can justify the free service (keeping me happy) because they are making money from the advertising. However, this rarely happens.

    I am a magazine junky. Give me the news in a slick magazine layout and I would subscribe and actually keep the subscription for years! I love glossy pages.

    Newspapers smell after a while stacked in your apartment, but magazines stay fresh for much longer. Magazines are the way to go!

    Day

    Jeff Borden | November 1, 2005 03:05 PM

    I subscribe to the Chicago Tribune and the Chicago Sun-Times and read them both pretty thoroughly every day before leaving for work. I also get the Sat. and Sun. New York Times.

    Why? There are certainly any number of well-done national news and political sites and I do enjoy reading them, but where will I ever learn about what is happening in my own community, city, county and state if not through my dailies? TV and radio news will hit the high (or low)spots, but I think it is imcumbent on me as a citizen to keep up with the issues. I've yet to find any kind of Internet site capable of supplying me with that kind of information.`

    Mark Linneman | November 1, 2005 06:03 PM

    1) Yes. I subscribe to the local paper (Sacramento Bee).

    2) Local and state government news and coupons/ads. The Bee is a generally good newspaper and probably the best news source for information on the California state government. Since I work for the state, and am generally a policy wonk, that's of interest.

    Tend to look online at the Washington Post (policy wonk again) most days and the Melbourne (Australia) Age online several times a week. I used to live in Melbourne.

    Bill Blum | November 1, 2005 08:28 PM

    1. No, I don't subscribe to a newspaper-- but I do frequently grab the Dayton Daily News or the Columbus Dispatch on Sundays.

    2. I'm typically out and about on Sunday mornings anyways, it's just easier for me to grab the paper at that time rather than rely on the missteps of the carriers that the newspapers manage to hire.

    3. I don't like getting harassed by carriers when I tell them I just buy the paper while I'm out. Period. I've put off subscribing TWICE because of the verbal assault I was subjected to by the little twit with the "sample" newspaper from the Springfield News-Sun...

    (... even so, I think the News-Sun is more tolerable than any of the Dayton or Columbus newscasts.)

    NSW | November 3, 2005 10:27 PM

    1. Yes - NY Times Select. Paper version - no.
    2. I subscribe to the on-line version because I want to access Bob Herbert, Frank Rich, and Paul Krugman at will. Also I like the fact that I can access the archives freely now. I do not subscribe to a paper version for a host of reasons. Why pay for what I get for free on-line? Apart from a handful of papers, if that many, AP, Reuters, or some other agency is doing all the leg work any way. For national and international news, I can get what I want for free on the internet, and in a far more timely manner. For local coverage, there are (in my case) two newspapers, the Sun-Times and the Tribune. If I want to read about Donald Trump's latest publicity stunt, U of C students throwing a party with a "ghetto thug life" theme, or about the aggravation of people carrying REALLY BIG BAGS on public transit, I have two sources of "news," for free. Why would I spend precious time and money to pay for such earth-shattering information? On the environmental front, I am gambling that my morning on-line reads (skimming the Guardian (UK), the Trib, the Sun-Times, the Washington Post, and the NY Times) are less environmentally destructive than getting paper versions that will be read once, then tossed into a landfill for eternity. I appreciate that on-line I can filter pop-ups, spam, and generally avoid the car ads and other useless filler that occupies 60+ percent of physical newspapers. I don't want to pay someone to deliver me more advertising; the world already has too much crappy advertising for me to encourage that sort of thing. I grew up reading newspapers, and yet I feel this way about the paper. I cannot imagine what my 12 and 10 year old nephews would do if given a subscription to the Cincinnati Post or Enquirer - it would be alien to them. The sole purpose of a newspaper now is that of a filter - if I read it at joe blow.com, I am skeptical, if I read it at the NY Times homepage, it may be "true" ... That legitimation function, validating the veracity of that which is reported, is all that a paper has left to offer, in my opinion. That, or the convenience of being able to be carried into the bathroom ...
    3. At this point, nothing would make me subscribe to a newspaper's paper version again. I would and do subscribe to magazines. I think that In These Times, The Economist, and Harper's, for instance, play a useful role in thinking about the world around us. The internet offers immediacy; the paper weeklies and monthlies offer deliberation and contemplation. But after five years of getting my day to day, up to the minute news via internet, I cannot come up with a reason to ever subscribe to a paper version of a newspaper again.

    Melinama | November 6, 2005 03:44 AM

    I subscribe to the WSJ print edition even though I am a firmly Democratic kinda gal because it's well written, I suspect the reporters there (as opposed to the editorial staff, whose stuff I never read) are kind of fifth-column, and no other paper writes about modern-day witchcraft in rural France or the lack of bananas in Greece.

    Matthew X. Economou | November 6, 2005 06:14 PM

    1. No.
    2. I do not subscribe to a print newspaper because I have too little time as is, and if I want to waste an hour reading some idiot's half-baked opinions or ad copy littered with logical fallacies, I can do it for free (and with no mess piling up on the kitchen table) with a web browser and a Google search for the keyword "blog". (Masturbation, mental or otherwise, is what drives the Internet and print media alike.)
    3. While no viewpoint is objective (that is to say, everyone makes assumptions), it would be nice if the papers at least tried. Scientists are supposed to list all of the ways they could be mistaken when they write up their discoveries. I would subscribe to a newspaper (preferably not print) who employed editors and reporters that were as careful. Question everything; take nothing for granted; get as close to the truth as humanly possible - these should be a journal's matras. (Unfortunately, these aren't easy things for us to do.) It would also be nice if the paper did most of its own reporting, instead of reprinting the AP or Reuters wire.

    I'll take wisdom and insight anyway I can get it. Newspapers are rarely fonts of knowledge (let alone wisdom and understanding), so they are rarely worth my time and (these days) never worth my money.

    Matthew X. Economou | November 6, 2005 06:16 PM

    Addendum: This is not to say I don't monitor current events, something that I think is every citizen's duty ("an informed electorate", yadda yadda yadda).

    Michele | November 6, 2005 11:32 PM

    I subscribe to the print edition of The Toronto Star. At times I've thought of no longer subscribing. But as most of my other news feeds aren't local (BBC World News on tv, and The Economist on paper), I want some source I can trust to let me know what's going on locally, and to provide a Canadian slant on national and international news.

    Dave Schaefer | November 7, 2005 01:36 AM

    Hi John!

    1. Nope, don't subscribe to any newspaper.

    2. I don't subscribe because really, I have the Internet. Any news that's important will really be covered by multiple people or organizations or websites, and I will be sure to hear about it. If I specifically want to look for news, I can always do a search for some cool news site. Also, as I think Paul Graham pointed out, there isn't much crossover between the good writing on the 'net and the writers on any one particular news site. I often flock to where the good writers are and get interesting news from there (such as your site, and his)

    3. I'm not sure if there was anything that could make me subscribe. I generally don't spend time in the day to actually sit down and read a newspaper, so it would have to be electronic format. I don't want to pay for it because there is so much information that is already freely available.

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