One of the benefits of jury duty is that I get to read the whole New York Times, cover to cover (sports section excluded), the old fashioned way, on paper complete with newsprint on my hands as proof. That’s right, for three days now, my newspapers have not been used as a doormat, to stuff into wet shoes, to wrap broken glass or to clean the mirrors. They have been fulfilling their primary purpose. To be read.
I read a lot on line. Newsletters, articles, blogs, tweets. I consider myself pretty computer literate and am a big fan of Facebook and Twitter. But the truth is that I still would rather sit down with a cup of coffee and newsprint. I prefer to turn real pages that rustle instead of scrolling down and trying to make pop up windows advertising something I could care less about go away.
I am convinced that I get more out of my reading like this. When I am holding the paper in my hands, I scan for what hits my eye as interesting. I am not just open to one window, with one article on it. I am not only looking for what my former colleague, Pat Kiernan has suggested in his In the Papers segment that morning, but also to those obscure tidbits I might never have found out about otherwise. Those little nuggets hidden in the sidebars, the bizarre court case, the restaurant about to open, or these days, about to close, the news items that never see the front page. People have always asked me how I know so much and where I find my information. I read alot. I like the newspaper. It’s what I was taught to do.
In my early days of draw against commission sales I was told to get all the papers, big and small and keep my eye open not just for the advertisements that might be leads, but the stories on business that might direct me to the next big prospect.
Even before that, back in the olden days at P.S.186 in Bellerose they not only taught us how to fold the New York Times properly for easier reading on buses and subways and so it would not hit the person sitting next to us, but also how to digest all this information. You were taught never to believe everything just because it was in print, but to read, think, critically evaluate and form our own opinions.
If there is a way to do the same thing reading electronically, I have yet to figure it out. When I read on line I am choosing what I want with little chance to happenstance upon something new. Sort of like wandering into the bookstore as opposed to ordering on line one specific book. When you’re wandering you’re more likely to find something you might not have even known you wanted.
Maybe there is a way to do this electronically and I just don’t know yet. Maybe one day I will break down, buy a Kindle and my view will change.
Or maybe I don’t want to. Maybe this is just one of those things I want to hold on to, with fingers covered in newsprint.