I yield to no one in my love of newspapers. After more than four decades of pounding keyboards for various dailies, and, before that, tossing the now long-gone Yonkers, N.Y., Herald Statesman into the bushes and, occasionally, through front windows of subscribers on my newspaper route, a lot of ink has rubbed off on my psyche. But the time has come to say goodbye to the daily newspaper, a delivery system that should have found its place onto the museum shelf a decade ago, when the Internet shouldered its way into the news business.
Like most goodbyes, parting isn't easy. And like most, the best way is quick and clean. But that isn't what is happening in my trade. In the news business we like to write about the next best thing, but when it shows up on our doorstep we shift gears into denial and foot-dragging. Take the announcement Feb. 15 by the Post Register, in Idaho Falls, that it is dropping its Monday print paper because of mounting financial pressure.
"In this changing economic environment," Post Register Publisher Roger Plothow wrote in a statement to the Idaho paper's readers, "businesses that don't stay nimble will be left in the dust." And then, for a dollop of good news, Plothow said his paper was "moving forward" by installing a state-of-the-art printing press.
Think about that. So many readers and advertisers are bailing out of print that the Post Register can't afford to publish a newspaper every day. And the paper's solution: keep publishing — and spend tens of millions of dollars on a new press to crank out more print papers. That is nimble the way Sonny Liston was a ballerina.