A month ago the local paper delivery man slipped something into our letterbox; an offer to take part in a free trial of the the New Zealand Herald, Auckland's major newspaper.
We hummed and harred as to whether to telephone the freephone number and take up the offer. What was the catch? Nothing is ever free these days.
Finally we relented and dialed the Herald. Yes it was completely free and there was not catch. If we liked we could receive the newspaper free for five weeks. Decision made, we signed up.
At this point it is worth noting that the last time we subscribed to a daily delivery of paper was a good ten years ago. Having been overseas we never bothered to renew our subscription when we returned.
Four days later our first free newspaper arrived in out letterbox at 5:30 am and I duly collected it. Given the usual chores of the day neither of us got a chance to look at it before 4 pm and by that time I had digested most of the daily news from a variety of online sources.
My generation were well used to daily newspapers as our principal news source. But what I had forgotten is the quantity of printers ink residue left on the fingers as one leafs through the pages. What a mess if you forget to diligently wash the offending digits.
By the second week I had grown somewhat accustomed to the daily ritual of retrieving the paper, albeit in all weathers which rather lessened the pleasure.
Then a couple of days ago there was no newspaper in the box and it was quite clear that the delivery man or his substitute had forgotten us.
In the bad old days when we subscribed, this happened with some frequency and usually resulted in half an hour hanging on a telephone call to the paper's administration listening to piped muzak.
What all of the above did was to remind us that (setting aside the nostalgia for the texture of newsprint) the printed newspaper is a dying medium. No wonder the Herald's print circulation like that of all other print publications worldwide is in a state of constant decline.
Last night with ten days still remaining on the free offer I 'phoned the paper's subscription services and cancelled the free trial.
Nostalgia for the past is one thing. Grubby hands and frustrating delivery delays are quite another.
As for me, I am now firmly wedded to news online and won't be buying another newspaper or magazine in its printed form.
|By Milt Priggee, www.miltpriggee.com|