In the Loop

What keeps you reading newspapers?

Posted at 1:16 PM on November 17, 2008 by Sanden Totten (6 Comments)

Every Sunday I get the paper and spend the first few minutes pulling all the circulars, car ads, classified and other garbage out. Then, I skip over all the fluff pieces that don't interest me, the big stories I've already read about on the Internet and I toss out the sports section (sorry, just doesn't interest me).

What's left? Not much.

Newspapers: Still good when your laptop won't do. (Photo by inju via Creative Commons)

One of the problems with newspapers is that there are very few sections in it that aren't better served by going on-line. The journalism blog 10,000 Words put forth a list of 6 newspaper sections that are rendered obsolete by the web. They lay out the obvious ones: Restaurant Reviews, Movie Reviews, Classifieds and Weather. But they also add in two big ones: The Front page/A 1 News and Letters to the Editor.

The reason for the former is that most of these stories are broken on the web first and that anyone with a news appetite and modem has likely seen them by the time they hit print. The Letters to the Editor claim is a bit more dubious. 10,000 Words says comment sections after an article make old fashioned published letters irrelevant. But that assumes most people are willing to read through the trolling, ranting and occasional spamming to find the actual analysis of real people.

On the flip side, the blog says Obituaries, Opinion and the Comics aren't leaving print anytime soon.

But what about you? What sections keep you paying that yearly subscription to the good old fashioned newspaper? What does the paper give you that the Internet can't take away. For me, it's totally the crossword puzzles.

Comments (6)

I find juggling a laptop and meals clumsy and a little frightening (Can your laptop's keyboard stand the Pepsi challenge?). I frequently have a solitary breakfast and lunch. A hard copy of the day's news is easier then and I wind up reading sections I wouldn't see or click on at an online news source.

Posted by Bruce | November 17, 2008 3:21 PM


I can't read the newspaper online in front of the fireplace or in the chair by the window.

We get the Sunday NYT. I read the A section, business, Week in Review & NYT Magazine. If we get the Strib, half of its A section is stories it picked up from the NYT or LAT. The rest is basically useless.

Posted by bsimon | November 17, 2008 3:26 PM

I agree with you bsimon. I like supporting the Strib since it's my hometown paper, but as someone who loves reading NYT on-line, I experience a lot of deja-vu cracking open the Strib A section.

Posted by Sanden Totten | November 17, 2008 3:58 PM

Sanden, What paper do you buy on Sunday?

I often forgo the Sunday paper altogether. But when I do buy it I usually spring for $5 NY Times. (Sometimes I'll buy the Strib or PiPress or both, but usually the Times.)

When it comes to the Sunday Times, the Magazine and Week In Review are priceless (even though you can usually get the Magazine cover story online days before).

The Sunday paper is still useful for those news hounds that zone out on Saturdays (i.e., take one day off from the endless flow of news) like me. The Monday-Saturday papers just don't have that advantage.

I used to subscribe to the Financial Times. Having that salmon-colored paper on my doorstep six mornings a week made me feel sophisticated. But eventually I realized I wasn't reading them until the end of the week, at which point: old news.

Posted by Doug Hamlin | November 17, 2008 6:28 PM

First of all, what it wrong with that guy's right foot in that picture? Does he have frost-bite or something?

Even though my living room is dominated by a giant computer screen, I get three papers on my stoop every morning: Strib, PiPress, and Wall Street Journal.

I started getting the StarTribune when the PiPress A-Section became so thin as to be almost useless. Now, I admit, the PiPress almost never gets opened, except when my wife and I both need something to read at breakfast. I keep getting it largely out of some sense of nostalgia and civic duty (I live in St. Paul).

I can't quite bring myself to drop it, even though I know I should save the money. (Plus, I already get three calls a week asking me to subscribe to the PiPress -- imagine how many I'd get if I actually dropped my subscription!)

Interesting note, though: The PiPress, without fail, is the paper that gets placed closest to my front door. They are trying to compete by whatever means they can muster.

With a young child, I now find I almost never read the weekend papers. What a HUGE waste of trees.

But I continue to like the WSJ. Has lost a little of its quirk under Rupert Murdoch, I think. But the writing is great, I still have a taste for business-y stuff, and I find it actually much more digestible than the NYT. Its also a much better compliment to the Strib A-Section -- better than the "facsimile" effect other comments mentioned.

Thanks for asking, Sanden!

Posted by Jeff Horwich | November 18, 2008 11:22 AM

I agree that more and more people are using the Internet as a source of information. As the population continues to become more tech savvy, I wonder if one day we'll do away with papers altogether and access all our news and information on the web?

I know that for classifieds it is way easier to post online and browse online. Sites have been built with consumers in mind, like one website in particular I like called iList. is a free classifieds service that is easy to use. Just wanted to share :)

Posted by Dana | November 18, 2008 1:25 PM

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