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Paper, fire, coffee ... a perfect morning

Features column

Albany Herald Guest Columnist Loran Smith

Albany Herald Guest Columnist Loran Smith

We are about to leave the chill of winter’s hangover — not with regrets, but with anticipation of spring’s sunshine and balmy temperatures, which will offer more opportunity for outdoor recreation. We can play golf and tennis, grill out, and segue into nightfall spent, but relaxed and upbeat.

That is how, I believe, most everybody feels. With the days getting longer, we get to do more things outdoors. If you are active, you welcome such opportunity. While I am sure that I am in the minority, I am not so happy about leaving winter. I know that before the spring soothes and stimulates our emotions, there is the awareness that summer’s heat is not far behind. But the thing I miss when winter takes its leave is a fire in early morning with a cup of coffee and the newspaper.

Most cynics, especially those my junior, would scoff that before long I will only have two of those three to joyfully behold. I am reminded almost daily that before long there will be no newspapers. When you think of the fact that printing a paper and getting it delivered is not cost-efficient, you realize that pragmatically the cynics are more in step with the current trend than those who appreciate the newspaper tradition, as I do.

The Internet is fine, but it doesn’t have to destroy the daily newspaper. I’m going kicking and screaming, simply because of the aforementioned thrill of the early morning triumvirate-fire, coffee and the local paper. I can’t get that with my computer. My argument is, why can’t we have both — the Internet and the newspaper? If the newspapers begin charging for the Internet delivery — as they should have all along — then us diehards may have something to hold on to.

There are other benefits of the newspaper. You can’t clip a story from the computer. Your offspring’s wedding pictures, published on line, are not nearly so heartwarming as they are when they are printed in the society section. If your son is a touchdown hero, isn’t it more exciting to see his accomplishments chronicled in newsprint than on a cold, impersonal video monitor?

A newspaper can be likened to personal letters. If you are recognized by the governor or some charitable organization, which would you appreciate more: a personal letter or somebody banging out an impersonal email, complete with errors, typos, and an underlying message that reflects, “I’m just getting this done so I can move on”?

When is the last time you received a personal, handwritten note for something? About the worst thing the cursed side of technology has brought about is the emergence of thank-you notes via email. Anybody who does that ought to be tarred and feathered.

You lose a member of the family and you have a friend who would have you think he or she deeply cares about your loss. When confirmation comes by email, you have to wonder about the sincerity. My frustration is that the written word takes on a different cloak when it comes from a machine. I’d rather see a column in print than on a screen. I’d rather see a book in print rather than via Kindle. Books should never go out of style; neither should the daily paper.

You may have seen where Warren Buffett, the wizened investment guru, said that he was buying up regional newspapers because of their inherent value. People appreciate the fact that if they have a child who achieves something significant — like the completion of a successful 4-H project — it is covered by the local paper. There is still a place for such coverage.

The view here is that the newspaper industry made some poor decisions about the time the economy was struggling but that they will find a way to remain viable in their communities.

One more thing about the importance of newspapers. You can’t take your computer to the bathroom. Selah!

Loran Smith is affiliated with the University of Georgia and can be reached via e-mail at loransmithathens@bellsouth.net.