New York, New York. Newsroom of the New York T...

Newsroom of the New York Times, 1942

We still get The Washington Post every morning. But, I must say, they are making it harder to like their Sunday paper.

They have buried the comics in a section that is half-size and, itself, buried in a bunch of other sections. Parade magazine is buried in a package of advertising inserts. My favorite wordplay column is buried I know not where, or care anymore.

I read the Tank McNamara cartoon to keep up with what is going on in the sports business, Gary Trudeau’s cartoon for politics, and Dagwood, Dennis and Peanuts cartoons for nostalgia.

I read all the Dear … columns, to see what parenting and grandparenting issues are cropping up.

I skim the front page daily and read my horoscope to see if I agree with it. I skim the rest of the paper to stay informed and to decide if I really want to read more gloom and doom about the world. The answer is usually, not.

When did reading the newspaper to stay informed as a citizen become reading about all the tragedies in the world? It is now much like walking into the airport in Las Vegas where you can hear bells and alarms from the slot machines where someone has won to entice you to gamble too.

Reading about all the tragedies in the world does not keep you informed. It is just an overload of sadness.

Give me something I can do about the tragedies. Sure, donations help. But, give me some context. Is this part of a trend or is it an unusual outlier? Should I be moved to action to keep it from happening again? What actions have people already taken to prevent it next time?

Last week, my husband showed me how the newsfeed on his new iPad works, bringing him The Economist, the New York Times and several other newspapers and magazines.

One son has been reading his news online daily for years. I don’t know when the last time was that he subscribed to a print newspaper.

Google is trying to wean me onto their news page by randomly giving me iGoogle, which has local weather and occasional news headlines.

The other son still gets a daily paper, just as we do.

A couple of years ago, an Internet marketing coach told his clients he no longer reads the newspaper. It is discouraging and he needs to keep his energy up and focused on his business. He said that if something really important happened, people would tell him.

And, that is how I learned about 9/11. Someone called me and told me to turn on the tv, worried that a family member might still be working at the Pentagon.

Indeed, I noticed a considerable drop-off in my awareness of events when I started working from home, even though I started reading the newspaper cover-to-cover, with no commute time eating into breakfast anymore. At work, people talk about what is going on, and they read or listen to a wider variety of sources than I do by myself.

It is clear the newspaper business, or news delivery business has changed. There used to be a race between newspapers and television news shows to deliver a fast-breaking story, usually won by whichever organization’s deadline came after details of the story were available.

Now, Twitter and Facebook announcements from politicians enter the newsstream just as easily as the man-on-the-scene with a camera phone who reports the touchdown of a tornado or a rally in the streets to overturn a government.

Real Simple Syndication (RSS) feeds allow everyone to construct their own, custom newspaper through their own computer-based readers.

Newspaper editors may become like telephone operators, data entry operators or the milkman.

Everyone becomes one.

Which newspaper do you read? Do you read any news online? What other sources do you use to stay informed? If you owned your favorite newspaper, would you change anything?

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To your continuing education about the world, staying informed and helping your grandchildren understand the flow of history and their role in it.

Carol Covin, “Granny-Guru”

Author, “Who Gets to Name Grandma? The Wisdom of Mothers and Grandmothers

http://newgrandmas.com