SHORTLY after I bought a computer and learned how to surf the internet, I quit buying newspapers. No more going without the Vancouver dailies when the weather prevented flights from landing in Terrace, or excess air freight took precedence sidelining The Vancouver Sun and The Province in the Vancouver airport to be loaded on to the evening flight for next morning purchase.
Today I’d be lost without my easy access to a range of publications.
Every morning I like to finish my coffee sampling publications from across the continent, depending upon how much time I have to read before tackling the day’s duties, and which parts of the country are in the news for some crime, or a weather related event near relatives.
I begin with The Province, The Prince George Citizen, and The Alaska News. Then on to The New York Times, Regina Leader Post, Victoria Times Colonist, The New Yorker and occasionally the National Post, St. John’s Telegram, and Maclean’s.
The New York Times limits non-subscribers to viewing ten articles free each month. You can bet I choose carefully which articles might be worth a full length read using up one free view. I am free to scan the headlines for topics I can then Google and find in other publications. I always skim the column of obituaries noting thumbnail bios. Their complete obituaries give a detailed history of a notable person’s life and achievements. That’s where I’ve been introduced to many authors, musicians and other notable people and learned more about those I already knew – Dave Brubeck, jazz musician; Kenojuak Ashevak, Inuit artist. Often I read an obituary start to finish, using up a precious point.
So you can imagine how I felt this morning when I opened The New York Times to read, “You’ve reached the limit of 10 free articles a month. Subscribe to continue reading.” Today is only the 15th!
For 99 cents I could subscribe for a month’s trial. But after 30 days, what? Pay $180 for a year’s subscription when I read so few articles on an average day?
The New Yorker blocks non-subscribers from reading major articles with a blue lock. The best I can read online of a blocked article is a synopsis. So I note the issue and later borrow it from the library. I can then read the entire article, free, even print a copy if I choose.
Besides news items, I search The New Yorker for favourite authors like David Sedaris, Ian Frazier and Andy Borowitz, and the occasional treat of an article written by John McPhee or Calvin Trilling. Except for Borowitz, who frequently appears, the others may show up twice a year, if that often. McPhee and Trilling are noted for researching a subject for months before their articles see print. The resulting article, though, is always dense with observed detail, unusual facts, and hints of humour.
Recently, The Victoria Times Colonist copied The New York Times and The New Yorker in limiting access to their articles without a paid subscription.
I can still read almost anything I choose in The Times Colonist provided I’m nimble and grab the blue vertical line along the right side of the page the second it flashes on the desktop. If I’m too slow, the page turns black and I’m shut out … though I can go back and try again later.
The Times Colonist has Jack Scott, a columnist I try never to miss. He employs the funniest comparisons, often makes me chuckle, regardless of his topic. And in any daily newspaper, readers’ letters, editorials, and columnists on various topics round out my daily read, time permitting.
Nonetheless, a newspaper printed on paper is a highlight of my mail, so to have a local person pop a newspaper into my mailbox after a month without delivery is so welcome.