It happened again this morning, and we are not happy. Our household today did not receive its daily newspaper. Usually the Saskatoon Star-Phoenix is delivered Mondays through Saturdays to a drop box at the end of our driveway in the rural Saskatchewan town of Radisson, about a 45 minute drive north and west from the centre of Saskatoon. Today, the paper did not get to us. A few weeks ago the same thing happened. We are not amused.
Perhaps it is because of our lofty place on the demographic ladder of the country or maybe just because reading a daily newspaper has been a life-long habit of ours, but we need our daily dose of the printed word.
Sure, we can get up to the minute reports on immediate events from our lap tops and mobile phones and tablets, but that is not the point. The point here is that a daily newspaper is a necessary part of our daily lives, and that necessary part seems slowly to be disappearing.
We all know why — the internet has sliced substantially the continuous cash flow newspapers used to get from their classified ads, their real estate listings, their full-page car dealer spreads and on-going grocery sale notices. Such is no longer the case, we understand that — just as we understand that the inter web, with its myriad of bloggers and pundits and cell phone videos and instant postings, can keep us up to date on instant “facts” — no matter how hazy the sources for those informational inserts.
Fine. Point taken. But, we in this house need more. We crave the new information, certainly, but we also need more than mere content. We need context, opinions, comics, puzzles, trivial facts, baseball box scores, gossip columns, opinionists, funeral announcements, wedding details, sports schedules and world wide reportage, all wrapped up in one easy to access, portable bundle. No searching, no scrolling, no squinting — just good old newspaper stuff delivered on a daily basis.
Newspapers have been a part of Canadian life long before there even was such a notion as a Canadian dominion. Our research shows that the first newspaper to be printed in Canada, in fact the first in North America, was the Halifax Gazette, which first saw the light of day on March 23rd of 1752. The publication is now called The Royal Gazette, and is Nova Scotia’s official weekly government record of “proclamations and other statutory notices.”
Today, many daily newspapers still exist in Canada, from the Times-Colonist in Victoria, British Columbia, to The Telegram in St. John’s, Newfoundland, but until they quit trying to improve their bottom lines by chopping staff, cutting features and raising prices, they won’t be in business much longer. Which would be a pity. As Canadian feminist icon Susanna Moodie once said, “The standard literature of Canada must be looked for in her newspapers.” And, maybe our paper will show up as it should tomorrow.