Busytown by Jolisa Gracewood

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Busytown: No news is good news

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  • Jolisa,

    Gaah, sorry, I've fixed all my broken links now. Gosh-darned curly quotes: so cute on the printing press, so devilish in html.

    Uh, FIRST!

    Auckland, NZ • Since Nov 2006 • 1472 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart,

    I am now, of course, really curious to know if any of the current fetish whip manufacturers used to make buggy whips.

    Back when 'we' all read the same paper (which hasn't happened since varsity, fifteen years ago), we'd all find ourselves talking about the same story. This is community, yes? And now that none of 'us' get a physical paper any more, we still do - because we read it at the Guardian, or it hit Digg. It's just that 'we' have stopped being a geographical community, and become a bunch of communities of interest. News unites me more now with English geeks than it does with the woman next door.

    Somewhere along the line, on the recommendation of a very smart and cool friend, I subscribed to the Guardian Weekly. I grew incredibly fond of its onion-skin pages

    Massive, massive nostalgia-rush. My grandmother used to get this, and I've always associated that onion-skin light-weight airmail paper with her. She was always desperate for the news from Home.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4651 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Campbell,

    well I do get a physical paper, and cracking it open is very much part of my daily routine - but I bemoan that they keep sending me a sports section that never gets opened - probably I need the kindle version and maybe that's part of the future of newspapers - just news without the paper

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 2622 posts Report Reply

  • Andrew E,

    What I really miss about opening a real newspaper is the seredipitous story. Something of interest or use that you may not have discovered through the top-down, menu-driven world of online newspapers. Boundary-spanning knowledge that may or may not be of use some day, but which (possibly) enriches you as a person.

    174.77 x 41.28 • Since Sep 2008 • 200 posts Report Reply

  • Deborah,

    I like the sports section. It means that I never have to worry about which section of the paper can be used for wrapping rubbish.

    We still get a daily, partly because I like the serendipity of it too. Though our delivery system broke down this morning: we got the Adelaide Advertiser instead of the The Australian . I can't see any serendipity in getting a gossip sheet intended for people with a reading age of nine. Grump grump.

    New Lynn • Since Nov 2006 • 1447 posts Report Reply

  • GemmaG,

    Hey there... Me and Ben had to do the paper round too, you know! And, readers, Jolisa says her paper round money was spent on 'comics'. To be more specific, it was a precious weekly subscription to Girl magazine, air-freighted from England with a fresh photo love story every week, alongside full-colour posters of such 80s heart-throbs as, erm, Shakin' Stevens...

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 45 posts Report Reply

  • GemmaG,

    (Am I in trouble now?)

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 45 posts Report Reply

  • Andrew E,

    Hehehe

    174.77 x 41.28 • Since Sep 2008 • 200 posts Report Reply

  • Jolisa,

    Old age has dimmed my memory...I'd forgotten that my baby-faced younger sibs were also subjected to child labour conditions. And the scary boss-lady, and the daily pick-up at the Scout Hall in the skanky park with the flashers and the glue-sniffers. All very character-building.

    In fact, Gems, wasn't it you who got harassed by the bad dog?

    I'll still swear on a stack of Tammy and Junes that the Girl magazines were yours, but :-P

    Auckland, NZ • Since Nov 2006 • 1472 posts Report Reply

  • Stewart,

    As a relatively new-Aucklander it seems to me that The Herald is actively campaigning for an end to print journalism. That rag is so not worth the price (any price - the adverts should ensure that it could be delivered free) that folks in the upper half of the North Is must be going online in droves for their news.

    Have even knocked on the head my subscription to the Guardian Weekly as I found I was looking at stories I had already read online. It wasn't worth paying the price just for a new cryptic crossword each week. Close, thoughbut.

    I will not lament the end of paper news.

    Te Ika A Maui - Whakatane… • Since Oct 2008 • 577 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    Lovely, Jolisa, what a great piece. If I wasn't so busy agreeing with everything you've written, I could probably think of something intelligent to add.

    And yes, I too am part of the steamrolling, except I also subscribe to the digital version of one of my favourite Italian papers, La Repubblica. Their model is a Website with strong front-page content tied to access by subscription to the digital replica of the paper and a flexible range of choices, including things like 30 issue over a period of three or six months, which seems to work well for me. I don't know how succesful it all is, but they haven't ditched it yet and three other national papers are doing it. Everybody else is forced to give their content away for free, and those who are open enough freely admit it's killing them. Commie paper Il Manifesto sold an issue for fifty euro last year to stay afloat.

    (But then they used to ask readers to buy 'shares' before the Internet as well, it's part of a historical tradition of funding of independent journalistic voices which is a popular model with lefties back home. I still have some of them worthless pieces of paper stashed somewhere, along with my Radio Popolare shares. Sniff.)

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

  • GemmaG,

    BTW, the morning battle between customers for a copy of the DomPost at Deluxe Cafe is a ritual I treasure. Also, the cafe staff cut out the daily horoscope and tape it to the counter, inspiring much mocking and mirth...

    The subtle differences between city papers offer an insight into each town's culture, I reckon... For example, the village-like aspect of Wellington is apparent in the DomPost still printing a weekly list of the names (surnames in BOLD CAPITALS) of those who've been convicted of drunk-driving. The newspaper equivalent of throwing rotten fruit at villagers in stocks in the town square?

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 45 posts Report Reply

  • Sam F,

    That rag is so not worth the price (any price - the adverts should ensure that it could be delivered free)

    Of course, most days the Herald actually is available free on the street in Auckland, thanks to wraparound advertising sheets. I do wonder if they could do this for home delivery too, as you say - being able to target the wraparound sheets for their subscriber base could earn them even more ad revenue.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1609 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle,

    This is a gorgeous piece, yet I have never read newspapers regularly, and the reason is simple: the pages are (usually) so big and unwieldy that I can't be bothered. They drive me batty. Give me something the size of the Listener, or something on a screen!

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3828 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Dowden,

    I got the Sydney Morning Herald all summer as part of a $50 for the year uni deal. Last week they stopped the morning deliveries -I'm s'posed to go and collect it but I don't always and can't get it for brekkie. I really irks not having a physical, tactile thing to spill coffee on, fight over puzzles inside, share the trivia section, draw moustaches and devils horns on John Winston Howard (that _never_ gets tired). I do feel guilty about the paper but a laptop at breakfast is just not the same. The sooner some whateverthehellitis (washable, flexible kindle?) comes along the better.


    My mum rang the ODT subscriptions manager and made them make the nasty paper-run lady pay us more. Go mum!

    Canberra • Since Dec 2007 • 38 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Dowden,

    oops, been a while, I'm still a bit black. How early 2009 of me.

    Canberra • Since Dec 2007 • 38 posts Report Reply

  • Andrew E,

    the pages are (usually) so big and unwieldy that I can't be bothered

    One of the reasons the Guardian moved to the 'Berliner' size. Certainly meant you were less likely to dig your elbows into your neighbour's face as you turned a page on the train or tube to work in the morning.

    I assume the literal downsizing hasn't happened here because that would mean actual investment in their product by the owners.

    174.77 x 41.28 • Since Sep 2008 • 200 posts Report Reply

  • Ian MacKay,

    In our town the kids no more deliver the newspaper. Instead heavily disguised (helmeted) eldely scooter riders do so. They are systematic but lack the colour of the kids.

    I read the online papers each day both from NZ and the world. When reading our local paper in the evening its "I know that and that and that one I read 3 days ago; on a blogsite."

    Bleheim • Since Nov 2006 • 498 posts Report Reply

  • Matt Nippert,

    Hell, I work (or rather worked, until I was credit crunched) in the media - and even I don't buy paper copies. I personally administered one of the thousand cuts that is seeing the industry - and myself - bleed dry.

    Of course there is one exception. I do fork out hard currency for the Economist.. Apart from fantastic Latin headline puns, that mag also buys you into a strange, but highly-educated, club. You'd be surprised at who gives you knowing glances when on the bus or in parks while reading the bible of classical liberalism.

    cheers,
    Matt

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 21 posts Report Reply

  • Amy Gale,

    Perhaps many other papers fit the description of Thurs/lifestyle + Sat/hardest-crossword, but if it's the NYT you can always get the crosswords online. (And am I the only one who is annoyed beyond reason when people in books talk about the Sunday crossword being hardest? Ptui.)

    For example, the village-like aspect of Wellington is apparent in the DomPost still printing a weekly list of the names (surnames in BOLD CAPITALS)

    Could be worse, could be like the US towns that print the names of people who have been merely arrested. Innocent until proven guilty; shamed immediately.

    tha Ith • Since May 2007 • 471 posts Report Reply

  • Stewart,

    The Cosy Club eh, Matt? I used to look out for other people on the train reading Harpers magazine but never saw a one. A lonely club, I was.

    Te Ika A Maui - Whakatane… • Since Oct 2008 • 577 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Campbell,

    I have to go to bat for the court news - having lived for most of the past 20 years in a Chch sized city with such crime that murders only got reported in the paper if they were someone famous, or were particularly gruesome I've loved coming home to a place where ALL the crime is reported in the paper - I think there's a lot of value in publicly shaming people

    Of course the court news is really read by our grandmas .... and if your name shows up there you just know her friends will see it there and she will die of shame ....

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 2622 posts Report Reply

  • Ethan Tucker,

    I can see the same thing working in some neighbourhoods in New Zealand -- although it's not much use for those who don't have computers at home. Which is a fair number of people, most of them already disenfranchised in various ways. Which is troublesome.

    You're right about the lack of reach of online publications, but would Mr & Mrs Disenfranchised be newsprint readers either?

    And I'm still traumatised by the small yappy-type dog who used to bite at my pedalling ankles as I sped away from his house in Jubilee Ave. The sods probably ordered the Star just for the exercise it gave him.

    Wellington • Since Apr 2008 • 119 posts Report Reply

  • Matt Nippert,

    Stewart: A club of one is the most exclusive club of all.

    Paul: The best commentary I've seen on murder reporting is in the LA Times . Or, rather, their murder blog. With 1000 killings a year in LA (cf 50 in New Zealand), it's one of the busier corners of the web.

    And in a brilliant case blending of web and print, the one-year anniversary saw this column published in the main paper:

    Choice excerpts:

    The more the killings stacked up on the blog, the more absurd the old media criteria for selecting one homicide over another seemed. Thirteen-year-old boys nearly always made the headlines of The Times' print edition, but 14-year-olds were a tossup. Sixteen- and 17-year-olds were more likely to make the cut if they were girls.

    And:

    Media coverage matters. In September, news broke that a 23-day-old baby had been killed by a stray bullet in the LAPD's Rampart Division. More than twice as many detectives were assigned to work that one case than to the division's 15 other 2007 homicide cases combined. Arrests were quickly made in the baby's killing. But as of January, some three-quarters of those other Rampart cases remained open.

    Cheers,
    Matt

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 21 posts Report Reply

  • Stewart,

    Matt,

    the club folded...I stopped my subscription to Harpers (I wasn't getting enough time to read the whole thing) and I switched jobs & don't get the train any more.

    May have to re-visit the Harpers subscription as I have a bit more time to read these days.

    Te Ika A Maui - Whakatane… • Since Oct 2008 • 577 posts Report Reply

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