The Messenger has a renewed focus on blogging, and last week Brian touched on the role this Hometown Paper has in this community. His points hit home with me, not only because of my inherently sappy mindset, but also because of so many stories I’ve read in the last year about the demise of the Newspaper. With the onset of electronic readers, electronic subscriptions, and social networking, it’s amazing there is still a newspaper industry, let alone small town newspapers. News is instant. Twitter, Facebook, and websites tell the stories minute by minute, second by second. News is Now-not tomorrow morning.
I’ve never been a newspaper reader. Shocking-I know, since I’m now writing for one, but it’s true. As a kid, I would ask my dad for the comics, but mostly because they were in color, not for their humor or any other intellectual stimulation (although I always did smile at Family Circus-I love me some Happy Family Moments). But, by the time I’d flipped through Garfield, Peanuts, and the Political Cartoon of the Day, I was annoyed that my fingers were black, and that I couldn’t fold the paper back just like it was. My parents weren’t big paper readers either, so that habit wasn’t ingrained in me like it is some. For some, it’s a morning ritual-coffee and newspaper. And, for all that I don’t enjoy dirty fingers, I do envy those with that ritual; it looks so peaceful and relaxing to flip through the morning paper with a hot cup of coffee.
And maybe that’s part of my nostalgia. The idea of slowing down with the morning paper, a cup of coffee, and maybe even a scrambled egg or two is so appealing, that if it comes down to a vote-electronic or paper, I might just vote for paper–me, a non-reading, non-coffee-drinking, tree-hugger. What does that say? It says that the Newspaper is part of our culture, and the Small Town Newspaper is part of our Community.
It’s this newspaper that printed my student of the month picture, my graduation picture, my wedding announcement, and my childrens’ birth announcements. It’s this newspaper that my mother clipped and sent copies to grandparents and cousins. It’s this newspaper that I received at A&M in my mailbox twice a week. Twice a week, I was guaranteed to have mail (very important in college life), and twice a week my roommates and I looked through the paper to see what was happening around town. They were from Houston, and they began to look forward to those deliveries. They began to learn our town, and to ask about things like Reunion, Moonlight Madness, and our Friday Night Scores. Now, as grown-ups, those same friends ask if something “made it in The Messenger.”
It’s a big deal to see your picture in the Paper, to see a friend’s story in the Paper, and sadly, to read tragedy in the Paper. But, this Paper is one of the things that ties our small community together. I hope this Paper does not fall victim to all things electronic, and I have faith that it won’t. There are still some of us clipping and sending pictures to friends and relatives all over the country. I know for a fact there are people reading The Update daily no matter their address–just wanting to be connected with Home, because that’s what they do here at The Messenger. They tell us the story of Home.
And, there’s just no place like it.