Wednesday, 29 July 2015

Farewell to an old friend

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A couple of weeks ago I received a letter from the editor of the Dominion-Post. In the first paragraph she thanked me for my ongoing support as a subscriber - and so I have been, for more than fifty years - and then went on to inform me that the price was increasing and I needed to change my automatic payment - upwards.

In a fit of pique I emailed back and cancelled my subscription.

It wasn’t really a fit of pique; I have been contemplating doing this for some time. The price rise in low-inflationary times when interest rates are understandably going down just triggered a decision already made.

My reasoning was valid. My day starts when I wake at around 6 am and I grope in the dark for the iPad on my bedside table. I go to settings and tone down “display and brightness” in the predawn room and then proceed to read the NZ Herald online. Once absorbed, I then go to the Dominion-Post app which for some curious reason calls itself “Stuff.”

Ironically, by just adding “ed”, this is what I have told them to get, in respect of their price rise.

Next I go over to Twitter and read the front page of the Wall Street Journal which has loaded overnight.

I then spring out of bed - that’s an exaggeration - and go into the spare bedroom and jump on the treadmill, and in between monitoring my heart-rate and adjusting the speed and slope I watch my old friend Paul Henry strut his stuff (there’s that word again) on the strategically-placed television set in front of the exercise machine. By the time I have showered and dressed and presented myself at the breakfast table I’m full to the brim with news; much of it bad.

Mr Henry even has a segment called “Five things you don’t need to know today.”

So the trip to the front gate to pick up my Dominion-Post is really superfluous. In inclement weather it is sopping wet even though it arrives each day bound in a plastic bag that is obviously porous. On these occasions I have to set up a drying rack in front of the gas fire and by the time it dries out I have lost my appetite for reading it. I generally just it fold it up and put it in the recycle bin.

And so I fear for the future of the daily newspaper, something I have looked forward to all my adult life. I can’t imagine why the publishers have allowed me to read it for nothing on a variety of devices. But it’s too late to draw back; no good locking the stable door once the horse has bolted.

I’m aware that there is a school of thought that believe there’s nothing quite like the look and feel of a real newspaper. I suspect this group were once closely aligned with the Fish and Chip Shop Owners Association. Now that nanny state has insisted on plain paper wrapping I regard this assertion as null and void.

“A newspaper is lumber made malleable, it is ink made into words and pictures. It is conceived, born, grows up and dies of old age in a day.” - Jim Bishop


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