Wednesday, August 25, 2010

I love newspapers

I mentioned yesterday that Laurie Hertzel's book News to Me: Adventures of an Accidental Journalist is a memoir. I read memoirs with caution--I have no stomach for self-centered navel-gazing or the standard "woe is me" tale of abuse and mistreatment. A well-written memoir should be about more than the author. It should include a broader commentary on the world, the times, social conditions or somehow connect the person to a larger picture than merely their life. I adored Doris Kearns Goodwin's Wait Till Next Year for this reason. I howled with glee through Bill Bryson's Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid. And Laurie's memoir hits the mark as well.


News to Me tells the story of change in both the world and in the newspaper industry which went from reams of carbon paper and manual typewriters to an electronic and computer-based industry in the past 30 years. Laure came into journalism when all the tools of the trade would change and her memoir includes observations about how this affected both the people in the industry but also the work itself. It's as much a story about her life as a young journalist as it is a love story to newspapers, those daily or weekly harbingers of all things newsworthy from obituaries to classified ads to coverage of breaking stories to weather and crop reports. I am a newspaper gal--been reading a daily subscription since I was a young girl grabbing the comics out of my parents' paper to today when I expect to find my daily dose of local news in my mailbox and like an old man, I grumble when it's late. Newspapers bring smaller communities together in a way USA Today never can. They run photos of local kids playing soccer, they report on crime sprees in neighborhoods and cover the story behind school closings. I subscribe because it's my small contribution to keep the news coming, to keep the community connected in a tangible way. It's as much an ethic for me as it is a pleasure to unfold the pages and read for the four-hundredth time about Brett Favre's latest retirement plans or enjoy Leonard Pitts' latest column.

News to Me is great reading for anyone fascinated by journalism, the nitty-gritty of that daily grind, the history and the passion. And I'm giving away a copy of Laurie Hertzel's FABULOUS memoir to one lucky reader. To enter, leave a comment. Each comment is an entry. I'm picking a lucky winner Sunday.

Spill it, reader. Are you a newspaper subscriber? What section do you read first?

15 comments:

  1. I love the newspaper! We get the Atlanta paper and our local daily, which is really the one we read. DOTR reads the Atlanta sports and that's about it. Whenever we travel, we read the local paper and if I don't go along, DOTR brings the paper home to me. We'd subscribe to more if we had the time. My brother and SIL are both in the newspaper business--I have to get them this book. SIL is features editor and brother was online editor until he burned out and went to work for NU's chancellor's office. I worked for three different papers in ad sales. I am a print girl all the way. In college, I could never write for radio or tv....total failure as a copywriter in those assignments. Must be because I am a visual learner. If I read it, I remember it.

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  2. I don't have a subscription to the daily blab in our current little town, but I Always sneak my mom's paper from our hometown. I love to hear about all the kids, school stuff, and engagements, but honestly...my favorite is the "police beat"! My mom, who I swear goes 45 on the highway, was in there once...laughed my butt off! I guess 45 is the only speed she goes ;)

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  3. I don't have a newspaper subscription. I usually read it online, but we buy one on Sundays. We like to buy a newspaper when we go up north. Their paper comes out once a week and some of the stuff in there is pretty entertaining.

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  4. The first thing I do in the morning is read 2 Massachusetts daily papers on the web and scan the Orlando newspaper online. Later in the day, I read the print version of the Orlando paper.I just start at the front page and work my way through.

    On the weekend, I read 2 weekly Massachusetts newpapers.

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  5. Our local paper is pretty bad. We have been getting the Sunday paper so I could get the coupons.

    My husband is a huge newspaper reader. We used to subscribe to USA Today. I'd like to get a big city paper, but it's to expensive so we've pretty much switched to the internet on-line papers..

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  6. I am a news junkie. That said, a winning comment would see the book going to my cousin who was a newspaper gal from the time she left college until just a few years ago. She lived the transition, and it sounds like a book that would be just right for her. If I don't win your copy, perhaps I should just order her one anyway.

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  7. I can’t imagine not having a newspaper hit my doorstep every day. Coffee + paper = The first thing I do everyday that does not involve the bathroom!

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  8. I have to read the newspaper daily. Even when we go on vacation, I get the daily newspaper from whatever town we are in.

    About 9 months ago, our local weekly paper changed formats. OMG you would have thought the world was coming to an end. I hated the new format.

    My favorite part of the newspaper has to be the obits..

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  9. This book sounds very interesting. While I'm not a subscriber, I'm rather fascinated with the newspaper business. I wish I would have worked on my high school newspaper.

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  10. Another newspaper lover here...and memoir lover...check out Expecting Adam - I just read it and loved it. I also liked Devil in the Details.

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  11. I will always subscribe! I read front to back, but only scan business and sports. I read the funnies while I blow dry my hair. You will often find a letter with my signature in the Letters to the Editor.

    I do love the internet for giving me access to the New York Times.

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  12. We are subscribers to our local newspaper. It's not daily, but comes out a couple of times a week. Enough to satisfy me. I love to look through the classifieds. You never know what people are selling! I even wrote several articles (community authors) for a now-defunct paper in a neighboring community. Loved seeing my name in print! :)

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  13. I like to listen to the news on the radio. But i do get our local weekly paper :)

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  14. i am so heartened to see so many newspaper readers here!

    I do not think that a democracy can exist without a free press as watchdog.

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  15. As you know, I love my local newspaper! I used to be a press officer for the Dutch government, back in the day. That job has given me a unique glimpse into the workings of a newspaper. I loved it.

    (Can you tell I am catching up after my move, travels, and illness?)

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Spill it, reader.