4:05 PM EDT, April 28, 2012
A few weeks ago, my 10-year-old son was bent out of shape when he came out to the kitchen for breakfast and a newspaper wasn’t on the table. He was REALLY ticked when he found out it hadn’t been delivered yet, because there was a good chance it wouldn’t arrive before he left for school.
He was comforted somewhat when I made a call and found out our carrier was just running late and that the newspaper, whose comics page and sports scores he reads daily while eating breakfast, would be waiting for him when the school day was over.
I have to admit that his angst made me smile. He actually cares about the newspaper, and I’m proud of that.
It doesn’t hurt that his mom is a journalist and his dad is a former sportswriter who now teaches journalism to high school students. He sees us reading newspapers in print and online all the time, so he was destined to be a newspaper consumer.
My mother, who will celebrate her 77th birthday Monday at my homestead in Bridgeport, N.Y., still starts every day by making coffee, then trekking across the street to the tube next to her mailbox to retrieve The Post-Standard, a Syracuse, N.Y., newspaper.
My parents always read the newspaper at the breakfast table when I was growing up, a habit that continues today. But I didn’t really start paying attention to the news until high school, when I was brushing up on current events to prepare for a Girls State interview. Girls State is a seven-day mock government program sponsored by the American Legion Auxiliary that teaches young women who have completed their junior year about civics and American government.
I attained the goal of being selected for Girls State and haven’t put the news on the back burner since.
When I asked my mother to share some of her favorite things about her newspaper, she listed The Post-Standard’s Sunday edition, plus its daily “A” section, which includes obituaries, local and national news, and the editorial page.
She scans the Central New York section, which features science, stories of interest to teens, the “funnies,” crossword puzzles and classifieds. She likes the sports section, too, though she admits she doesn’t read it cover to cover like my father does.
Other favorites for Mom are a weekly Moneywise insert, from which she has gleaned some investment tips, and the Neighbors section, which features news from Madison County, in which she lives.
“I wouldn’t miss reading it,” she said of Neighbors. She sometimes mails me “clips” — those old-fashioned newspaper clippings, often accompanied by a handwritten note, no less! — of stories about high school classmates and former teachers.
My dear mom isn’t a big Web person, but she said she has gone to The Post-Standard’s site a few times to read a story or obituary she heard about but missed in print.
My son, who is quite Web-savvy, doesn’t scan e-headlines much yet, but I have shown him a few stories I thought would interest him on The Herald-Mail’s website and on the sites of other regional publications.
It’s amazing to me that three generations in my family alone are so attached to newspapers.
I’m in my early 40s and can’t imagine a day without reading, at the very least, local news. My mom considers reading the news part of her breakfast, I think, and so does my son.
It’s no surprise that I digest most of my current events at the kitchen table, along with my first meal of the day. I can only hope that the generations that follow will consider news consumption — be it in print or online — part of their daily fortification, too.
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