For many years I have relished the fact that wonderful elves working through the night deliver a beautifully wrapped Sydney Morning Herald, thrown with deadly accuracy, to my door each morning. I have never seen them nor do I know from which Santa, masquerading as a Newsagent, they come.
Since retirement I have enjoyed the routine of my dog waking me to the thud of the paper being delivered, letting her out as I switch on the kettle and venture out into the gloaming to retrieve the paper. The crossword is before me as I drink that first wonderful aromatic cup of coffee and then breakfast is permitted as soon as I have done the two crosswords (unless they are so diabolical that I permit myself to have it earlier). After the crosswords I take a look at the opinion pages and Column 8. Letters to the Editor are de rigor before perhaps a glance at the news (broadsheet format permitting).
But I do not really care how it is printed. It could be tabloid or on a very good quality roll of toilet paper as far as I am concerned. The shape of the paper does not go one iota towards giving me any sort of assurance about the accuracy of what it contains or the superiority of the writing.
I was kindly given a years free subscription to the Sydney Morning Herald on-line, or to be more accurate my deceased husband was. I used it on his behalf, since the bills have been paid for some years on my credit card. (Like many institutions it appears to be too difficult for them to change the client details even after notification.) I did not like the format. Instead of developing a format that was more suitable for computer use it just placed the paper, as is, on computer. Difficult as broadsheets may be in reality, they are very cumbersome to read on-line.
Then I was given an iPad. They are so manageable. They can be taken back to bed. They do not take up the whole table at a cafe. I follow @smh on Twitter. I read most of my news from their interesting links. For some years I have relied significantly upon radio and some TV news broadcasts for up to date news. After all they can report more contemporaneously than can a paper printed last night. Both news reports and comment pieces in newspapers have the potential to be much more up to date if delivered on-line. They can generate discussion on-line. I was delighted to find last Saturday that Richard Glover’s regular article in Spectrum appeared on-line. There is much flexibility in this type of exposure for the media. It can generate immediate up-dates. It would require some difficult handling I would imagine in terms of quick editorial overview and complications of possible proprietor’s legal responsibilities, but if Ross Gittons, Jessica Irvine, Richard Ackland and the many other wonderful journalists the paper has could reply to some comments on-line the immediacy of the whole issue would be heightened. (Of course they would also have to be paid for this.)
Letters to the Editor would thus become a thing of the past. I must have foreseen this when I called my blog site “Not (another) Letter to the Editor”!
I would be happy to pay for news content in this particular, or more up to date, on-line format, but not if the current newsprint format is merely transcribed for computers.
But what about the crosswords? I hate doing them on-line. One might say practice would make perfect but, although I am usually quite a moral person, I fear I might cheat. It would be just too easy to ask that oracle on all things, Google.
Please, could the delightful elves just keep delivering the crosswords for use with morning coffees?