Sunday 11 Dec 2016

Extra! Extra!
Jennifer Flaten

Ah, it is sweet Sunday morning. I love Sunday mornings, I would love them even more if my kids let me sleep in, but since they don't I just have to love getting up early and reading the paper.

I do so love reading the Sunday paper. Although, I confess that sometimes I get the early edition of the Sunday paper so I can enjoy it without interruption on Saturday night.

On Sunday mornings, the kids are usually engrossed in the Disney channel. Yes, I admit it I use it as a special treat on Sunday to distract them so that I can read my paper unmolested.

It won't surprise you to learn that I have a routine with my paper. Stop laughing lots of people have a specific routine for reading the paper.

My routine is to start out with the comics, segue to the business section, and from there I go to the food and entertainment sections. Finally, I finish up by reading the local and world news, in that order.

So imagine my ire when I found not one but three sections from my precious Sunday paper missing.

I didn't have business, food & entertainment, and local news. That makes well over half the paper missing. Hey, Milwaukee has a small paper, what can I say.

I can tell you I was pretty damn displeased.

Let's face it, food and entertainment and local news make up a bulk of why I read the paper. I did have the comics so not all was lost.

Still, it is not as if you can really pore over the real estate section.

For one wild moment, I actually considered running out and getting another paper. Then I stopped myself that was bordering on a bit too crazy.

The fact that my paper was missing almost half of the sections reminded my why the print papers are going under; they can't even get all the sections into the paper.

Yes, I understand it was some lackey at the stuffing station who messed up, but the principle remains the same.

If I went online all the sections would be there on demand.

Still, I like print news papers, I like being able to read them at the kitchen table or in the car.

That being said it is only because I have to like print papers. I am too poor to have a nice laptop or fancy 3 g phone that would allow me to read my paper on the fly.

If I had the fancy gadgets, I would use them to read the paper anywhere I pleased and I wouldn't have much use for the print paper at all.

Except, for the crossword puzzle I can't live without the crossword puzzle.

Yes, I do have a specific routine for doing the puzzle. The paper has to be folded just so and I don't do the puzzle until I have completed the whole paper....does that answer your question?

Sadly, everyday brings another listing of print papers that are folding.

I don't like the idea of all those people without jobs all because the papers failed to embrace the new media.

I read one interesting commentary about newspapers. In it, the author discussed how papers were still charging a fortune to advertise in the printed-paper but practically giving the online ads away.

This is a hold over from several years ago, and it made sense then when papers first ventured online.

At that point, no one was quite sure how the internet was going to workout. Many businesses didn't understand what they wanted to do with their website, let alone how wildly popular it would be in the future.

Unfortunately, as the internet grew in popularity and capabilities the newspapers didn't change how they did business.

Sure hindsight is twenty-twenty but newspapers spend a lot of time researching and reporting on trends and things in the world marketplace, why they failed to see this coming and why they didn't embrace the technology I'll never know.

Why can't the papers charge a daily, weekly, heck even monthly subscription fee to access their digital paper?

Everyone uses their credit cards and debit cards for even the smallest things like buying a pack of gum. They certainly would pay to access the online paper everyday.

The excuse that ad revenue is down right now doesn't fly with me, because the newspapers should have been taking steps to be digital a long time ago.

Recently, I read a book by a former newspaperman, the book, "Black & White & Dead All Over," by John Darnton. The book is a mystery set at the New York Globe. While it isn't the world's best book it does give a glimpse into the mindset of the newspaper publishers, executives and reporters.

These people have a hard time letting go of the past and failing to see that they could fail.

This is not unlike many of our large banks and other corporations. Who are learning that they can indeed fail.

Jennifer Flaten lives where the local delicacy is fried cheese, Wisconsin. She writes about family life, its amusing or not so amusing moments. "At least it's not another article on global warming," she says. Jennifer bakes a mean banana bread and admits an unusual attraction to balloon animals and cup cakes. Busy preparing for the zombie apocalypse, she stills finds time to write "As I See It," her witty, too often true column. "My urge to write," says Jennifer, "is driven by my love of cupcakes, with sprinkles on top. Who wouldn't write for cupcakes, with sprinkles," she wonders.

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