At the risk of sounding like dodo brain #92/asking a question that's been posed for a decade: do you read a daily paper online? I read plenty/link plenty. But we still get a daily paper (The Oregonian) delivered, and I still try to read the New York Times every day, in its paper form, "try" because I no longer have it delivered at home, but a copy to each of the shops. This latter is an imperfect system, in that people often steal the paper (if I catch the person who keeps taking the Sunday Magazine, I am going to give them a giant tongue lashing), or I don't feel I have the time to linger and read.
I've been traveling a lot this year, to bigger cities, NY and SF and LA. When I was in NY last week, I felt great. I felt like myself, with an endless number of museums and restaurants and places and people to interface with, if I so chose. This is another reason why Matt Davis's goodbye, Portland post resonated with me. One of Matt's commenters astutely wrote, Matt is going where there stories are, to New Orleans. (He will make his bones there, as I made mine in LA.) Portland is not a big enough city, there is too little cultural collision and too many people with thin skins here to really sink your teeth in and do serious journalism (to say nothing of local places willing to publish it). A recent example: a little nothing piece I wrote for the O, in which I quoted a local PR person, who in several emails to me had a quasi-nervous breakdown because she thought the piece did not show her in the best possible light. I did my best to explain, the piece was not about her. A long-ago example: the editor of a paper I was writing criticism for musing aloud at a staff meeting that if the paper were to run anything negative about a venue, perhaps the paper should call the night before and alert them, a suggestion that made the editor I worked directly beneath bust a nut.
Anyway, two things happened this morning: I took the time to read much of the New York Times while standing at the new stand-up bar at Ristretto Beaumont, and drove home with two thoughts: one, I want to make a bunch of money soon and buy a place in New York, where I can spend more time and where, perhaps, Tafv can live. And two, I might start reading the Times online, on a daily basis -- something, by the way, I am willing to pay for. Politically, I realize we are all supposed to stand up and screech that the web is meant to be free, god dammit, and going behind a pay-wall -- which the Times plans to do later this year -- is as antediluvian and anti-progress as it comes. But here's the thing: as a journalist, I know first-hand how decimating not having any money to support a publication is; I had four -- four! -- of my editors (at the LA Weekly, Wired, Bon Appetit and City Arts) downsized out of jobs last year in a four-month period. That's a lot of freakin' cake not coming my way, kids. Also, I don't expect to get everything I want for free. I will be on the frontlines shouting, "Huzzah!" when the web is better monetized for writing and writers, and certainly, there are individuals and larger sites that have figured out how to make the finances work through traditional channels, i.e., ads and backers. I am also in the fortunate position to still have work. But the money? Do we really want to have this conversation first thing in the morning?
While I enjoy the range afforded by reading the paper online -- the skipping, the photos, the videos -- I also know I blow off more than when I read the paper in hand, and am divided about the idea of defaulting always to My News, divided because I see this as a good thing (deeper knowledge about fewer issues) and bad (where is Pakistan, again?).So: do you read the Times or a comparable paper online, and if so, what have you gained, what have you lost? And, any tips for me?
NB: Yes, I aware there will almost certainly be no print papers within the decade.
NB: And yes, I am aware that the medium that is slowly killing journalism as we've known it has created the opportunity to have this conversation here, for which I am most grateful and which I find both fulfilling and full of infinite possibilities, yes.