So many sources, both on the web and off, tell me that newspapers are moribund if not already dead. Except maybe for the New York Times (which I, in a fit of irony, get on my iPhone). My response is somewhat like Chuck Heston’s about the NRA, they’ll have to pry the daily paper from my cold, dead hands. Practically the first thing I did after I moved here, even before I got all the dishes unpacked, was to call the Denver Post and get a subscription. My day doesn’t really start until I retrieve the paper (which is usually, alas, at the bottom of my very steep driveway, or in the bushes to the side), separate it into sections I will read and sections I won’t, and sit down with some breakfast (or lunch–after all, I’m retired and don’t have to get up at a specific time) and read. I’m quite conscientious and read the national section and the state section first before I go to the funnies and the puzzles and the agony columns. But on Sunday, it’s really fun — there are two magazine sections (neither, unfortunately, published as they used to be by the paper itself), a big Arts and Entertainment section which includes book reviews and a travel section, an op-ed section, and so forth. Lots of reading, plus a New York Times crossword which, I have to admit, normally defeats me. The Post is quite generous about putting the answers on the same page, so if I just have to . . . .
Because this is, after all, Colorado, the Post also has, during the fall, a separate insert about the Denver Broncos every week, sometimes more than once a week, but always on the day after the game, whatever game it is. If it’s a “big” game, there’ll also be an insert on game day. Some of the best columnists working for the Denver Post handle sports, and it has been such a ride this fall with “Tebowmania”, I’ve really enjoyed reading their take on the phenomenon. Living in Colorado requires being a Bronco fan. Nobody seems really sure of this, but I think there’s something in the State constitution. Either that, or in the water, that simply makes it happen. There is a huge sculpture, brilliant blue with orange eyes, of a rearing horse outside DIA. I wonder how many visitors to the state ever realize what that sculpture signifies? More than anything else, it signifies how rabidly fond of their Broncos Coloradans are (although we have a tendency to like them better when they’re winning, no matter how sloppily). Ooops, getting a little distracted here. Back to newspapers.
I dread the time that newspapers disappear. When I lived in Los Angeles, I perforce got the Los Angeles Times, which is (horrors!) still my standard for a good newspaper. They still have a weekly magazine, called “Calendar,” I believe. And a lot of comics. And I miss that. In New York, I had a subscription to the New York Daily News, because the New York Times doesn’t have agony columns or comics. I still have no idea what their editorial board is thinking. Don’t they want anybody to read their paper? In any event, I found I enjoyed tabloid journalism, done New York style, and, after all, I never sank so low as to subscribe to, or even read, the New York Post.
Historically, the first newspaper published, or at least the first one that lasted, in Denver was the Rocky Mountain News, which was the morning paper. Like the New York Daily News, it was tabloid sized and had lots of comics for little kids like me and lots of columns for grown-ups like my folks. The Denver Post, which started later, was the evening paper. I believe, without really knowing, that the Post attempted to be a “record” for the state in the way that the Washington Post tried (and tries) to be for the country. But my memory of the Post during my years in Colorado was mostly that it was amazingly biased, although I actually can’t remember in what political direction. When I moved to California and was told that the Los Angeles Times was editorially biased, I had to laugh, because the LA Times was so much more careful in its punditry than the Post ever was. A few years ago, when the first wave of newspapers dying off was rampant through the country, the Rocky Mountain News more or less disappeared into the Denver Post, which became the morning paper. A lot of folks were unhappy about that, including me, although I wasn’t living in Colorado at the time.
Of course, the news on the front page is a little dated by the time it’s published — most of us, including me, get our actual news from the TV or the Internet, which by their nature can get breaking stories to us much faster, but I still find that the newspaper articles seem more reasoned and nuanced than what I hear on the tube (which is a nickname for TV that has recently become completely out of date; pretty soon, people won’t understand where that name for it came from (ditto “the box”, for that matter)).
But it is such a lovely and quiet way of reading about what’s happening, much nicer than having it drummed in one’s ear. And, after all, if newspapers last long enough, someday I may actually be able to complete the New York Times crossword without having to look at the answers.