By Danny Tyree
My access to news narrowed dramatically when I was 10 years old.
My mother’s boss passed away, so I no longer got to peruse his morning paper.
And, despite my protestations about prying the funnies from my cold, ink-stained fingers, family budget cuts meant my father could no longer splurge on the evening paper.
I still had the local gossip grapevine, radio newscasts and TV anchor David Brinkley. But cutting back to just the Sunday edition of print journalism left a vexing information void during the Nixon/Apollo/counterculture era.
And, oh, the taunting from the family dog! (“Look what I did on the carpet! Good luck rolling up that console TV!”)
By the fact that you’re encountering this column, I know I’m preaching to the choir. But I feel compelled to double down on reminding you that a newspaper subscription makes a thoughtful Christmas gift.
Perhaps there are shut-ins on your friends list who have begrudgingly dropped their newspaper because of the proverbial “fixed income.” You could reopen their window on the world. (They could then yell out the window the more nuanced “You kids get off my lawn – or I’ll have to call the landscaper who advertised in the classifieds!”)
On the other end of the age scale, there’s no need to talk down to teens and preteens. A newspaper will help them prepare for their civics class, learn more about the town’s entertainment venues and discover how people other than social media influencers live. Give them the gift of knowledge. (Granted, you don’t have to share the knowledge that you almost blew a bundle on naming a fragment of space junk after them.)
A newspaper can be a college student’s comforting tether to their old stomping grounds. It can be a way for a newlywed couple to put down roots and become a contributing part of the community.
I know. I know. Many people in their 20s and 30s dismiss traditional newspapers as a quaint relic, but a positive attitude can make the gift a welcome surprise. Vinyl records are becoming “hip” again, so why not get ahead of the curve with the appreciation for the coolness of newspapers? (No charger needed! No searching for free wi-fi!)
Even if not every hometown story is life-changing for young couples, they can bond by making fun of standard headlines such as “Zoning board recognizes local merchant.” (“Yeah, sure, I thought I recognized Mike! That awful haircut threw me off. Remind me to send the Codes Department after Ralph’s Barber Shop.”)
Those who are young and disdainful of the power structure should embrace local journalism as a way to Stick It to The Man. Seriously, if you hear a reporter claiming, “I got into journalism to get rich,” his next words will be “and to locate my wife, Empress Josephine! Sacre bleu! Did you find that straitjacket in our advertising insert?”
Blogs and Facebook groups have their place, but a finite newspaper provides a priceless measure of closure.
The same cannot be said for the time-draining pop-up ads, clickbait and rabbit holes that are characteristic of online surfing. (“Speaking of which, do you know the 16th-century Dutch word for ‘rabbit hole’? Well, actually – whoa! Is it already Wednesday?”)
10-year-old me says, “Think about it. Consider gift subscriptions.”
And also, “Santa, a tape recorder would be loads of fun for President Nixon!”
Danny Tyree welcomes email responses at email@example.com and visits to his Facebook fan page “Tyree’s Tyrades.”