If I could steal the Saturday Australian and get away with it, I would. I used to buy it for two sections: sport and The Review. I can’t bring myself to give that empire my money anymore.
The Sydney Morning Herald was read in 28 of the houses in which I’ve lived. We had it delivered in the 28th but sucked in to a high-fat, low IQ diet of smh.com.au I decided not to renew our subscription before we left. I never got to read the paper until evening and by then everything I read in the paper I had already read online. And then some. When I realised I was unrolling five newspapers from their delivery plastic to put them into the recycling bucket I knew this wasn’t working. It wasn’t so much the money. It was the waste. Words wasted. Obsolete.
I began to hate the online Herald. Bias! Recycled content! Sackings! I didn’t want to support this. (I am acutely aware that had I and many others been willing to continue to pay for good journalism we wouldn’t now be served this diet of crap. Perhaps.)
In my 29th house, our household didn’t seem to miss the subscription and some weekends, we didn’t even buy the paper from the shop.
It started when we were babysitting. I couldn’t settle into my usual routine so I got the newspaper and read it while I had a glass of red wine and the older boys watched the tv. Usually I would watch the tv and look at my ipad. Watching television is never a full time occupation, unless we’re watching dvds of the West Wing. That’s a conscious programming decision, anything else is incidental and does not require complete attention.
Tonight I realised I like to sit in an armchair, with the television muted while my son watches the A League on the iPad, and I read the newspaper. I half-listen to the football. The newspaper is contained. It’s not aggregated, it doesn’t have a feed. It’s curated. It’s fucking EDITED. I don’t lean away from that gnawing doubt that there is something else out there that is BETTER. It’s a little world with paper edges.
And my finger tips smell like newspaper.