I love newspapers. I love the smell of the ink on the paper. I love the way the ink rubs off on your fingers. I love the ritual of the read and the turning of the pages. I love the tactility and heft of a newspaper. I love the writing in newspapers, particularly the NY Times, Washington Post, Christian Science Monitor, Chicago Tribune, Boston Globe but even the little local newspapers with the corny photos and local reports of summer carnivals and recipes, the sports, the social announcements, and all the bad local advertising
Newspapers are important. They have personalities and definitive tones of voice. Some really are hardwired to the right and some to the left. And you can choose which voice you want to follow and quote the next day in a conversation. They last. What is printed today, stays printed. The only way it can be altered is with a retraction the next day. Newspapers chronicle our history.
Newpapers are a real object. We pack our stuff with newspapers so when we are long gone and someone in the family is rummaging around the attic they can date our last time we handled a plate, a glass, a picture. And the newspaper itself becomes an article worth saving when something we are interested in or a news breaking historical moment is worth treasuring.
Newspapers are our treasure.
Watching them vanish is like watching old friends being laid to rest. We need to keep newpapers alive. And I don't mean the little throw aways that are filled with nothing but vacuous celebrity gossip, news sound bites from wire services and crossword puzzles. Newspapers reflect the opinions and styles of reporters and offer in depth reporting we can never get online. Series articles, political argument, and real investigative reporting happens only in newspapers. And if we didn't have time to read a particular column or article one evening, we can take it up again the next.
Watergate would never have happened if it hadn't been for newspaper reporting. Why from the beginning of political and religious questioning it has always been the broadsheet that has enlightened and informed in a way like no other.
I remember fantastic ads in newspapers. Especially fashion and department store ads.
My very first job before university, was as a layout artist with a department store. They had a person who did nothing but illustrate in pencil and ink the fashions for the week. I would take those high end illustrations and incorporate them into our big full page newspaper ads for the Saturday and Sunday editions. As a student I worked for a small community newspaper, again doing ad paste ups and layouts. The paper had a hot type machine which was ancient then. It used to clank and sputter and the fellow who set the type was as old as the machine itself. The owner /editor used to chew on his cigar stub as he proof read the articles before it went to plate making. All this he did with the type reading backwards. The sound of the rubber mallet hitting the type into place, the high pitch of the press running, shouted orders from pressmen to the inkmen and back, the clanking type setter mixed with the smells of hot lead and ink and paper and cigar smoke has left a rich memory.
I guess I must have gotten the ink in my blood.