by KAREN POWERS
Dear Daily Newspaper,
You’ve served me well old friend. We’ve had a long relationship and you’ve always been there for me and I for you. But forces bigger than my loyalty are growing, and I’m afraid they signal the end of our great love affair.
Our relationship started when I was a young girl. Coming from a family of newspaper readers, I felt extremely grown up and sophisticated by scouring your tabloid pages. My diligence would then be rewarded with inclusion in that evening’s dinner table conversation. So passionate was my family’s devotion to you, they even bought the morning and afternoon editions. Yes, there were different editions – back then we didn’t have the internet to procure the latest news and yes, my family read the tabloid papers.
Major events from my childhood were unraveled by reports in your daily pages. Television news was fleeting but papers could be pored over. I remember waiting for the latest edition of the paper to read up on tragic events such as Cyclone Tracy, the Granville Train disaster and the Milperra Massacre.
As an adult this tradition has continued and even with the advent of the internet, I have still preferred devouring your printed coverage during major events such as the death of Princess Diana, September 11 and the election of Barack Obama. Of course, as I have matured my love has developed into a more sophisticated version and the broadsheet has become my new life partner.
Just as we have shared in major events and tragedies, so too have we managed to rejoice: you delighted me with your detailed pages on all the royal romances, engagements and weddings of the 1980’s and I continue to relish every Olympiad through your comprehensive coverage.
So important have you been to me that on the occasion of the birth of my children, I sent my husband out to purchase a pristine edition from that momentous day which I have faithfully stored for my children to read the news from the day of their birth. But now, alas, it seems that the party is over, the jig is up and our great affair must end. Your workers are being retrenched and your business is being remodeled. Many commentators are predicting the death of your weekday editions within five years.
And I fear that I am somewhat to blame. You see, I have been a slightly unfaithful lover. For some time now I have sneakily read your weekday version on my iPad or laptop. I am sorry. It was there, it was convenient and I didn’t mean to hurt you. It just happened. You know, you really are very different in your electronic tablet format – but I know this new version of you is here to stay and I am prepared to accept that.
But come the weekend all is forgiven. Our fractured weekday relationship is repaired as we engage in our ritualistic Saturday tango on the table. No leisure activity comes close to that of spreading out your broadsheets on the kitchen table and scouring through the news, features, favourite columnists, reviews and editorials. Joining me at the table is my tolerant husband who patiently suffers my infatuation with you. One of the sections he has always somewhat macabrely perused is the death notices and I am bracing myself for the day when he breaks the sad news of your weekday demise to me. I will miss your printed face through the week, old friend, but I trust we will always enjoy a weekend dalliance.
Karen Powers is a teacher librarian by day and blogs about that aspect of her life here. At the end of the day she is a writer, wife, mother and breast cancer survivor who has just launched a new blog here.
How do you consume your news? Why is online your preference over newspapers, or vice versa? Has the way you access news changed over time? What do you think the developments at Fairfax and News Limited over the past few weeks will mean for the future of newspapers in Australia?