At the start of a new year, I have high hopes about making regular visits to the gym, eating healthier, filing information as I receive it instead of letting it stack up on me. But one change I’m making is not one of hope, but rather resignation: I’m cancelling my subscription to The Washington Post.
As a journalist, I feel like a traitor. But I can no longer justify receiving a paper that I spend five minutes glancing through, that makes my fingers black with ink and that takes time and effort to stack up and put out into the recycle bin each week. In fact, if I did the math, I bet I’d find that I spend more time moving that paper around the house each week than reading it.
Increasingly, when I do read it, I’m disappointed. Some of the front-page news is already out of date. The copy editing is abysmal – I usually find several errors on the front page alone. A few months ago the Post moved what used to be a passable business section into the A section. After they did that I watched as the business coverage languished and practically disappeared. The only business coverage still worth reading is Steven Pearlstein’s excellent weekly column. There’s little reason to keep receiving even the Sunday edition. The Sunday book section is no more. Even the weekly TV guide is useless, now that we all have digital guides on our TVs.
I compared the online edition – which is free – to today’s Post and found everything I get in the paper version and more (well, except for the coupons). Plus, I can do a search for topics without having to wade through pages of dirty newsprint. Try as I might, this journalist simply cannot find a good reason to keep my subscription for daily home delivery of a major national newspaper.
I will continue to be a faithful consumer of news, but not of paper.