Quit your newspaper, euthanize a dead tree media dinosaur

I’ve had a trial subscription to the fashionable Dutch morning paper: NRC.next1 and I got called today warning me that it is about to finish and whether I’d like to prolong my subscription with them.

I declined for the following reasons (of which I only communicated the first to the girl on the telephone):

  • I don’t really have the time to read a morning newspaper. Most days I forget to get it out of the mailbox in the morning and if I take it with me I don’t really have time to read it at my place of employment anyway.
    Also my mailbox is too far from my house to reasonably pick up the paper in the morning and read it at home over breakfast.
  • I don’t believe in using physical resources to convey something as ephemeral as the news anymore. Yes, paper has a ‘better feel’, but I don’t think your outdated dead tree fethishism is a good excuse to impose on the environment as you do.
    The free newspapers are even worse offenders handed out by the thousands, littering the trains in the morning. I think physical newspapers both free and not should be taxed to make some amends for the environmental damage they cause.
    Solution: Read your news on your iPhone or other digital device.
  • I don’t believe in broadcast media anymore. A physical newspaper has a lot of surplus, delivering to me not only the news I’m interested in, but also all the other news I’m not interested in. This is a waste. Not to mention the news from other newspapers I’m interested in which I’m not getting —a waste of opportunity.
    Solution: Mix and mash a selection of news which is of interest to you from various newspapers, magazines, blogs and other media.
  • I don’t agree with the selection of news or authors that this locale provides. Dutch newspapers write about Dutch news, from a Dutch perspective and focus almost exclusively on Dutch sports, opinions, science, books and arts. This is a narrowness of vision which is offensive if you’re interested in the world at large.
    If you have a wider interest, you will probably read some English language publications and get information on the same topics days or weeks before it has been processed for the Dutch public.
    Being bound to such a small locale also means that you get the best writing2, the Dutch language has to offer, which is globally pretty insignificant. The New Yorker and the Times have a larger pool of talent to dip into, which explains the chasm of quality that separates them from most Dutch publications.
    Solution: Learn English.
  • And lastly but most importantly —taking from Talebs philosophies— reading a daily newspaper propagates the delusion that the world can be understood and controlled. Something, which is clearly not the case. It certainly cannot be understood and explained by journalists, just as much as it can’t be controlled by the people reading newspapers. Additionally being kept up to date of all the world’s events and miseries on a daily basis does not make us any happier.
    Solution: Accept. Stuff happens and the world is unfathomably complex. Go to a lot of parties and people will tell you about important current events over a drink, which is all we can really hope for.

So no paper news for me and good riddance.

  1. More properly this is a Next+ with the full NRC on Saturday.
  2. Or so you would hope.

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