Tuesday, March 17, 2009

The Death of a Salesman

The ferry line was dark and cold today as the man selling newspapers walked up and down the aisles of cars.

"Seattle Times! P-I!" It's what he yells every day, his voice melodic and loud above the rumble of the engines. A bright orange bag full of plastic-covered newspapers slaps against his back as he walks.

"Seattle Times! P-I!" Maybe it's because they realized it would soon all be over, maybe they wanted a piece of history, but I watched as one car after another rolled down its window to buy the last print edition of the Seattle P-I. I've never bought a newspaper in the ferry line before; today was my first, and will probably be my last.

"Seattle Times! P-I!" It was also the last time the salesman would be saying those words.

As I breathed in the ink-stained pages I felt tears prick my eyes. The headline shouted, lonely and sad, "You've meant the world to us." I flipped through the thin pages, now tears rolling down my face, as the finality of it all set in. Newspapers are dying, and part of me is dying with them.

I've been reading newspapers since I was a little girl, and received dailies up until a couple years ago, when the Internet just became more convenient. I remember sitting on my couch with a cup of coffee every day as the smooth paper rustled under my fingertips. I fell in love with journalism through newspapers, and wrote for my high school paper, even a couple articles for the Oregon Daily Emerald. The possibilities for stories were endless, the opinion section powerful, the right of a free press something to be cherished.

Today I feel like we've lost a part of what makes journalism great, and in the decades to come, our children, and our children's children, will realize what's missing.


Kelly said...

Sad. Really sad.

McRiguez said...

I don't read newspapers, I hate getting that dried ink feeling on my finger tips, but with that said, I agree. It's very sad =(

I'm afraid that's what will happen with books. I love cracking open a new book with is fresh-pressed plastic smell or the 50 year old attic smell. That's why I think the kindle is slightly evil, but convenient.

Neo said...

I would say 'our childrens children won't realize" as things pass the generations forget them and don't know of them. It is a sad thing, I have subscribed to the paper years ago and now I use the internet to get my news... it is a dieing form and I feel bad for that.

Paula said...

I had heard the Seattle PI was going under. It IS sad, but just reflects the way the internet is taking over. I know when I subscribed to the Oregonian, I would rarely read it, and it greatly increased my recycling. So if there is any benefit, it will be less waste. However, I here you - if you like reading it, there is something nicer about reading in print than reading a lot of info online. Other forms of print may die out, also - even my own mail order catalog, as it becomes more expensive to produce, and most people are just as happy finding us and ordering online. STILL - I really like my print catalog, so it's a sad thought. I might just scale way back on the size and keep the most pertinent products. People purveying print of all types I think are dealing with this change. Also - print advertising is no longer nearly as effective as online advertising. Etc.