By now you have probably figured out that I am not a young person. In fact, I am old, but still young at heart and in spirit.
But from time to time, I have to drop back and compare some of the things we are living through these days with the things I lived with long ago.
Today I want to discuss the MEDIA….or as we knew it growing up, the newspapers.
Here in Houston, we had three papers. The Post, The Press and The Chronicle. The Chronicle is the only one left, what there is of it.
At one time these were thick, heavy multi sections of newsprint. They usually had a sports, local, editorial, lifestyles, classified and other parts on a daily basis. It was a chore to sit down and read through all of it at one sitting. I had a paper route for the Press. I liked it since they didn’t have a morning or weekend edition. So, I could throw my route after school and be done with it. As I recall I had about 125 customers on my route. I forget what kind of money I made for doing this. Along with a group of friends, we would meet in the afternoons and roll papers before we delivered them. We rolled them with string and by the time we were finished our hands and lips were black with printer’s ink. You would roll the paper, then having wet the end of the string with your mouth, slap the string onto the rolled paper, yank it off again, put the string back in your mouth and do the next one. Then you got on your bike and pedaled through your route area and threw the paper into the correct spot. Never in the bushes or shrubs or onto the roof, but as close to the house or on the porch if at all possible. The worst part as making monthly collections (I think the rate was $3.00) since you would go to the front door, ring the bell or knock and see the curtain move and then no one would answer the door and you would have to go back and go back until you got your measly three bucks. Invariably the ones who were so difficult about paying you were the ones who complained the most about being 15 minutes late on a rainy day.
Today, we have almost zero newspapers, left don’t we? The Chronicle is a mere shadow of its former self. So how do we get our news in today’s world?
The television media is all over the map when it comes to reporting the news and making up the news. It doesn’t seem to focus on the reporting angle as much as it does on the opinion angle. So now we get bits and pieces of the events of the world from many multiple sources. You click on a news story you see on the internet and you think you want to read more about the subject. Now you find that this story originates from the Fargo Express and to keep reading you must sign up for a subscription to open the article. I don’t want or need a subscription to 47 different newspapers and magazines.
Now if you try and read an article from the beginning until the end, you might get 3 or 4 lines of text before you start getting the advertisements for stuff you do not want for any reason. The trap here in reading this is that every so often they have a button for you to press to get to the next page. But, the button is cleverly hidden among several other similar buttons. If you make the mistake pressing the wrong button you are now directed to a post trying to sell you everything you do not need. The worst is still to come since now they know who you are by your computer address and you have now signed up for all of their advertisements from now to the end of the world. I now get about 15 emails from u-smile pro, ‘lose 15 pounds in 48 hours’ and ‘this is my last chance on my car warranty each and every day of my life. All because I wanted to read an article about something, I was interested in.
Heaven help you if you click onto something to do with climate control, a hobby or some political viewpoint, regardless of which side or position you are on. You are toast. You will get emails, texts and every other form of communication you can think of just because you wanted to learn about the yellow breasted sap sucker.
They will even send you a letter by the United States Postal System.
I have a jar on my desk at home filled with the nickels, dimes and stamps I have received in the mail from some organization urging me to contribute to them. It seems to me that if they would stop sending people money in the mail, they would not need more contributions.
Heaven only knows what reporting the news will look like in a few years.
It can’t get any worse.
Or perhaps it can.
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