I’m Your Girl Friday


Are newspapers–traditional, black and white, printed on paper–dying? Print magazines are shuttering faster than the doors of Almack’s at 11 o’clock, and newspapers are seeing huge drops in circulation and advertising as well.

Newspapers used to be how everyone got their news, even if it was weeks late. Now, of course, the internet’s ubiquity means that newspapers are past time once they’re printed. My dad’s former newspaper, the Boston Globe, is facing possible closure by its owner, the New York Times, because of union negotiations (thanks to friend HatRack for sending me info about this!).

Back in the Regency, newspapers were as partisan as the New York Post is now, which is to say, newspapers were unabashedly partisan; which paper you subscribed to was dictated by your politics. The British government charged a stamp tax on newspapers, which made them prohibitively costly for all but the wealthy. It’s safe to say, however, based on our fiction and common sense, that newspapers were handed around from person to person and devoured.

I’m torn about the death of newspapers myself; on the one hand, I like the purported objectivity they espouse. On the other, I can get an enormous amount of news on the internet for free, and spending money on a newspaper is another luxury I’ve cut out of my daily life. But on the third hand, I don’t want to rely on news sources like the Daily Show and the Huffington Post for my information. The fourth hand almost doesn’t bear mentioning, but newspapers write on subjects I wouldn’t normally search out, so they keep me more informed than I might otherwise choose to be.

The heroine of my book, A Singular Lady, wrote a newspaper column detailing her hunt for a husband. If Titania were around today, she’d be blogging on the same subject.

How about you? Do you still get a hard copy of a newspaper? Where do you get your news?

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