On June 9th of this year, the Tribune Chronicle, our local newspaper, celebrated its 200th year in print. When it was founded, NE Ohio was called the Connecticut Western Reserve and was largely a wilderness. Thomas Denny Webb, a young lawyer,came from Connecticut and settled in the small frontier town of Warren, Ohio. On June 9th in 1812, a few years after settling here, he started a four page weekly newspaper and called it The Trumpet of Fame. A little over a year later, it was the first newspaper in America to carry the news of Commodore Perry's victory at the Battle of Lake Erie.
When I saw the old photos, including one of newspaper carriers from years ago lined up with their bicycles, I was reminded of my father, who had a paper route in the 1920's delivering the Western Reserve Chronicle during the several years he lived in Warren with his aunt and two uncles.
My parents always got the daily paper and read it every evening switching different sections between them. We kids looked forward to reading the comics. I still enjoy them. They're like the dessert after the main course.
I get a daily paper and hope it never goes entriely to an on-line paper. I know I could go there to read it, but I also know if I did, I'd skim through it and miss a lot. It wouldn't be the same as reading it with my meals or settling down with a cup of coffee and the newspapaer later. A lot of my writing ideas come from little bits of odd news. Besides, I'm a great clipper. If something interests me, I cut it out. For instance, The Tribune Chronicle is printing weekly articles by local historians on soldiers from our area who fought in the Civil War. Because my next book is going to include a Civil War re-enactment in the plot, I've been cutting them out and saving them in a folder to go over later when I'm ready to create the characters and plot for my book. Funny cartoons? Clip them out. Obituaries of people I know or with some twist that would work great as a character? Clip them out. Hints from Heloise? Yep! Those are cut out, too, if its something I'd not thought of or already do. There are often great recipes in the newspaper, interesting places to visit, book reviews of a book I might like to read, clip them out. Annie's Mailbox has all sorts of strange lettrs to Annie (The women who took over for Ann Landers.) A lot of good characters and plot twists can be found there.
If I were forced to read the paper on line, I would also miss other aspects of a print paper. Like what would I line the floor of my bird cages with when I cleaned them? They're great to use to collect the messy tomato skins when canning tomatoes or potato peels when paring lots of potatoes for a large dinner, and the whole package can go straight into the compost area. They're much better than paper towels for cleaning windows. Yes, one's hands get a little black, but hands are washable and the windows shine. That's another hint from Heloise, by the way. But probably my favorite use for used newspapers is mulching my garden. I spread thick layer of wet newspapers where I want to control weeds, like around the tomatoes, and cover the newspapers with straw or chopped leaves. It looks nice and is excellent for weed control.And when I have too many used newspapers, I take them to the recycling center. Veterinary clinics and animal rescue places can use them, too.
The Tribune Chronicle had a weekend of great events planned for its 200th birthday. Unfortunately, I was out of town and couldn't attend any of them, although I would have loved being a part of it. One I particularly wished I could have attended was a re-enactment of the Scopes "monkey" Trial in our beautiful courthouse with two scenes from the play "Inherit theWind". An actor portrayed Clarence Darrow, a local lawyer, who practiced his profession in our courthouse.
A combination of reading my daily paper, TIME magazine and listening to NPR makes me feel I'm better informed about what's going on in the world and in my communiity than I would be if I didn't have those three news sources, but of the three, the one I would miss most would be my daily paper. Yes, I can't imagine life without NPR, but I'm not always near a radio to hear everything, and the newspaper is always there patiently waiting for me to pick it up when I have time. Even when I've been away for days, it's there for me to catch up on what's been happening while I've been gone.
What about you? How do you get your news?