A reader’s comment brought this benefit to mind. She wrote, “A rattling, folding, ink-staining actual paper in hand is wonderful, especially in the a.m.”
The traditional daily newspaper is a tangible product, and that, in turn, produces all sorts of benefits:
- The reader can pick it up, put it down and pick it up again (it’s portable).
- It is a patient guest, awaiting the reader’s attention. It doesn’t change, and it doesn’t go away until the reader decides it’s ready for the recycle bin, the wood stove or the bottom of the birdcage (it’s permanent).
- It can easily be saved for posterity, with the assurance that future generations will be able to read it as easily as its original owner (it can be cached).
- The reader can share it, can cut favorite pictures or articles out and post them in a public place, or take the day’s edition to the coffee shop and leave it there, the crossword puzzle partially completed, a gift to be finished by a stranger (it’s shareable).
- It continues to display advertisers’ messages in the reader’s home as long as that reader remains interested in the news content of the paper (the ads are sticky).
- It gives the newspaper’s staff a certain satisfaction, the joy of being able to pick up and read their daily creation.
- It requires an investment in equipment and supplies (a press, newsprint, ink, delivery trucks, advertising and newsroom computer systems, etc.), the production of which creates thousands of jobs in distant forests and manufacturing centers (supply chain investment).
- That same investment creates property tax revenue for communities and/or states that tax such things and are lucky enough to host a local daily, or one of its suppliers (tax revenue).
- In the local community, a daily employs many people to run the press and distribute that tangible product seven days a week (jobs).