My Guilty Pleasure: The Newspaper

My morning ritual involves three things: coffee, snuggles with my daughter Grace, and the newspaper. I’d fight pretty hard to keep any one of those addictions, so all this talk lately about newspapers moving online has me worried. You may ask, how can I justify getting a newspaper 7 days a week? That’s a lot of paper which amounts, over years, to a lot of trees. I know, that’s why I call it a guilty pleasure! But living a “just” life is never black and white, so here’s my rationale.

Justification #1: Reading a “paper” newspaper creates a calm morning breakfast atmosphere. A computer does not.

Reading the paper instead of whipping out my laptop at 7am keeps me unplugged in the morning. The minute the laptop comes out I launch into “work” mode. Emails pop up, my mind starts racing and my quiet morning is gone. My attention goes away from my daughter and husband and onto the work of the day. Keeping my focus on our quiet family ritual of breakfast together, even if it does involve reading the news, is important to us.

Justification #2: Can I trade gas for a newspaper please?

When I worked full-time outside the home I got most of my news from NPR on the radio. Now I work from home, therefore drive much less, therefore save on fossil fuels. Surely there’s some kind of trade off between the gas I’m no longer using and the trees I am consuming through my paper? And of course I recycle every single newspaper.

Justification #3: I hate the Oregonian’s website.

Our local paper’s website, to be frank, stinks. It’s hard to navigate, visually unappealing and full of busy, flashing advertisements. One more aspect not conducive to a relaxing morning breakfast time. On the other hand the print version of The Oregonian is easy to find your way around and gives a good balance of local, national and international news (OK, the international could be better, I’ll admit).

Justification #4: I stay up to date.

I am generally well-versed in current events, both local/ national and global, thanks to our newspaper. I’ll continue to resist reading online for the reasons above and I no longer spend enough time in the car to get my news from the radio that way. As theologian Karl Barth advised, Christians should have the newspaper in one hand and the Bible in the other. It’s important to me to stay up to date and the print paper works best for me to meet this goal.

So what do you think? Is the newspaper important to you or do you find you can get your news online just as well?  In our home the newspaper is staying put for now, but in the near future we may not have that option if and when everything moves online. I dread that sad, sad day.



  1. Jill said,

    January 28, 2009 at 9:38 am

    I totally agree! We discontinued our Oregonian subscription last summer with the good intentions of cutting down on waste/amount of paper in our recycling bin, and I planned on getting my news online. I am a member of the “my morning and day cannot be launched successfully without my black and white over a bowl of cereal.” Even lunch was eaten while reading, most days. Well, the online news”paper” just doesn’t have the same effect. There’s no “front page” and it’s really hard to negotiate around from beginning to end of articles, and from section to section. I also don’t like watching the news on TV because it’s so flashy and sensationalized and don’t want my 2 yr old exposed to the violence that is DAILY featured there. So I’m working on my hubby to resubscribe… at least just to Sundays! It’s definitely worth the “footprint” to be an informed citizen of our globe, I think.

  2. KarenP said,

    January 28, 2009 at 9:11 pm

    I’m a total online junkie, so getting my news via computer works pretty well for me. I agree that the Oregonian website is worthless. I go there occasionally if I’m looking for something in particular, but their search feature is so ineffective that even that is usually an exercise in futility. I, too, miss my days of listening to NPR in the car. I take occasional car trips without the kids now and gulp in NPR like a bingeing addict, but most of my car time is now spent listening to music with the kids.

    I feel like I do reasonably well keeping up with my daily perusal of news sites. I tend to hit CNN and MSNBC for staying up on big news and stop by for local headlines. For more depth, I go to, or and use Google News if I’m looking for something in particular. We do subscribe to the local Wilsonville paper, which I’m actually pretty impressed with. It’s about 15 pages, once a week, which is about all I can keep up with. It gives us enough newsprint to start our charcoal chimney when we grill, cover the table when the kids paint, or ship the occasional package and doesn’t overwhelm our recycling bin.

    Honestly, the only thing I miss about the Oregonian is the NYTimes crossword, but I get my crossword fix in other ways. I do steal the crossword whenever I’m someplace that has a paper lying around, though! :)

  3. Lorie Dolo said,

    January 29, 2009 at 4:12 pm

    I find the newspaper to be cumbersome. If it were book size I might like it more but I liken it to trying to refold a map so that you can see just the section you need to see … elusive. I love getting my news from NPR radio or the internet. I usually go to BBC to read the latest news, and while that leaves me a bit aloof to local politics I feel like I get a more well rounded take on the international scene. What I like the most is the ability to drill down for more detail and the ability to see the top stories in a glance to know what I’d like to read more about. Maybe my life would be better if I had a morning ritual. Right now my morning is usually chaotic with getting myself and my boys out the door. I’ve been feeling good that I’ve been regularly getting my smoothie made for breakfast. I used to go without.

  4. Courtney said,

    January 31, 2009 at 9:00 pm

    The newspaper is a huge issue at our house. I love it and Micah loathes it. It is part of my morning ritual along with a cup of coffee and a quiet house. I love to take my time looking through it alone and then around the breakfast table with my kids. It’s easy to show them the pictures and the headlines are easy to read. Micah is extremely bothered by the waste and general build up of the paper in our recycling bin. It always seems to be busting at the seams. I tried to go without it for a couple of months, but found I really missed it and felt out of the loop. So here is stays…at least for now!

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