Goodbye Globe

It is with some sadness and reluctance that I canceled our daily subscription to the Boston Globe today. I like the idea of a print newspaper, but in reality, it doesn’t work for me anymore.

Perhaps the biggest problem is newspapers deliver news at the least useful interval. Radio and the web give you up-to-the-minute updates, while weekly and monthly magazines give you in depth, critical treatment of the news in perspective. (Of course, the web also gives you everything, although it is not always as portable as a magazine or radio.) Newspapers end up somewhere in between: they are generally hastily (and thus poorly) written; don’t usually have space for in depth and contextual treatment (although certainly better than most TV news); but by the time you get them they are already dated if you’ve been checking Google News and listening to NPR.

Newspapers also have vast amounts of irrelevant content that just creates more work for me in taking out the recycling. I never look at the sports, real estate, “lifestyle,” or automotive sections; the hundreds of pages of advertising material in the Sunday edition likewise go right into the recycle bin. At the end of the week, I look at the pile of unread dead trees, and realize what an inefficient process it is.

Finally, it’s just not a good value. $400 a year could pay for a lot more high quality online or offline content.

I understand the newspaper business has been having a tough time, and I’m not helping things by unsubscribing. (The desperation is palpable in the “Free Boston Herald” hawkers stationed outside my office every evening.) I hope the good investigative reporters still find a way to ply their trade. Maybe they will all end up at high quality weekly and monthly publications, e.g., Seymour Hersh at the New Yorker.

In any event, I’m looking forward to less work and less guilt carrying the recycling to the curb. I suppose I’m just doing my part to kill old media.