Monday, August 31, 2009
Ongoing Nostalgia for Newspapers
A few months back, I wrote here about how much I like newspapers and how much I will miss them if they continue on their path to extinction.
Another facet of the printed newspaper that I really like is the ubiquity of the low-tech newspaper box in virtually all urban centers. They are easy to find, easy to operate, and hearken back to what I always imagine to have been a simpler time.
One thing I like about them is the elegance of their effective design. A stack of papers is set inside with one "display" paper propped in the window. The display version lets each passerby know what is for sale in the box. When the stack is depleted, the last customer buys the display paper and exposes the empty box which effectively deters any further purchase attempts that could not be fulfilled.
What I think I like best about them, though, is that they operate on the honor system. You pay, the door is unlocked, and you are entitled to take one paper from the stack before closing and thereby re-locking the door. Although easy to abuse, their persistence is a testament to the general honesty of the masses. I love that.
I noticed today that the box where I have often purchase the LA Times has been removed. I presume this is connected to the recent bankruptcy filing by their parent company. It is also widely rumored that the parent of the Orange County Register may file for bankruptcy this week. It is not looking good for my local rags.
I know I will always find a way to get the news regardless of the fate of the newspaper industry. But I would prefer to have it printed on a big floppy sheet, folded neatly, and left at dawn where I can buy it from a box that trusts me completely.