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Everyone tells me newspapers are going away, and I hope it isn’t true. As I posted yesterday, information has become a niche commodity, but newspapers still allow us to look outside our own interests to see things we didn’t know we were interested in. In that regard they differ from other media, such as magazines. (The axiom is that newspapers bring the world to you, while magazines bring your world to you. I suppose that means that personal media like Flickr allow you to bring yourself to the world.)
I got to thinking about all this when I looked at the Metro section of the New York Times on my train ride into Manhattan this morning. I thought I would spend the trip reading about the results of the New Hampshire primary, but instead my attention went to Nicole Bengiveno’s photo of Jessica Martinson at the funeral of her husband, Lt. John Martinson of the FDNY, who was killed while fighting a blaze in Brooklyn last week. You can read the story here.
Papers all over the country bring their readers this kind of local news every day. The pictures and the stories create something greater than the parts—newspaper don’t just provide information, they are something more visceral; they form the texture of our time. To look at today’s newspaper, or a newspaper from a particular day 50 years ago, is to know what that day felt like to people.
I don’t get that feeling when I get news stories off the Internet, frankly. The texture of the news is torn up by that medium, which compels users to constantly choose what they want to see and read. I suppose it’s old-fashioned to believe in the value of confronting worlds that you don’t think you’re interested in.—David Schonauer