We’re in the middle of a digital revolution, and one of the victims may very well be the wonderful black and white and read all over item you’re reading right now.
Two of Southern Arizona’s beloved newspapers are closing up shop: The Tucson Citizen (founded by Charles Foster “Citizen” Kane in 1941) and the Vail Sun (founded by Gotham Gazette reporter Vicki Vale in 1948).
Actually, a little research uncovers that the Citizen dates back to the Arizona Citizen in 1870, making it the oldest newspaper in the state. The Sun was only slightly older than my infant son.
A large part of these failures is the economy. If you haven’t heard, our economy is in dire straits.
But there is a larger question: Can the print medium – newspapers, books, fortune cookies – continue to exist in these modern times?
I’ve heard many a person say that there will soon be no need for newspapers, magazines or books because everything will be digitalized.
And every time I hear this, I quickly place my hands over my ears, shouting, “La la la! I can’t hear you!” and run away in tears.
For how can this be? Has the younger generation no respect for something as wonderful as the printed word? These kids today with their Internets and their iPods and their “No more pencils, no more books!”
The pencil may have gone the way of the quill, but books and periodicals must remain alive and well.
There’s nothing like holding a book or newspaper and reading it left to right, like a real American.
When it’s nearly bedtime and you’ve put on your pajamas and your little sleeping cap – but maybe you’re not quite sleepy enough to hit the hay – there’s nothing like a good book to help you drift off to dreamland.
It’s so much better than counting sheep, especially if you have wool allergies.
And if you have to take public transportation, such as one of Tucson’s fine buses, what better way to pass that time than to read a wonderful book or a periodical? I usually do this out loud for the entire bus to hear.
Soon they’ll expect all of us to carry some device containing this week’s Weekly World News, the latest issue of Hustler and the Bible all on one hard drive.
I won’t stand for it. I grew up on the newspaper. I grew up loving black-and-white movies of the 1930s and 1940s, which were almost exclusively about newspapers in some way.
I was even a paperboy. Today that’s like having been a milkman or a Fuller Brush salesman.
If you won’t think of me, then think of the poor canary with nothing to line its cage.
Think of the child spreading Silly Putty on his computer monitor because it’s now the only place to find the hilarious antics of Family Circus and The Lockhorns.
Or think of the poor dog who will never learn because its owner has nothing to roll up and hit its nose with.
We were promised flying cars and robot maids in the 21st century, and all we’ve had thus far are our reading materials taken away and the next Great Depression.
Thanks, future. Thanks for nothing.
The Citizen may be leaving, but the newspaper isn’t dead yet. I heard someone refer to it as “a dying art” a couple of weeks ago.
But to paraphrase legendary crooner Huey Lewis, the old boy may be barely breathing, but the heart of the “newspaper business” is still beating.
ARNIE BERMUDEZ and ROBERT MION/Tucson Citizen