Should you subscribe to the newspaper? Here’s why I do

I admit I feel a bit embarrassed at having to explain to an obviously intelligent writer of a recent letter to this paper the reasons a person might subscribe to a newspaper, despite certain (I would say) inevitable issues that can arise with such a subscription.

A newspaper is a vital part of the social and intellectual life of a town. It supplies its subscribers with a means to track the world outside one’s immediate neighborhood, connecting the micro “household” life-world to a larger neighborhood. It embodies the connection between people — that which makes us more than isolated motes in space — and in so doing plays a major role building what is called a community, from the smaller units: persons, families, schools, churches, businesses and so on.

There are many kinds of newspapers, of course, and their quality will vary according to the effort and skill of the journalists, and the financial resources available to them; but without the newspaper, the community loses a huge bit of the glue that connects people into a community. And a newspaper does lots of other things of practical value, in the ads, in the obits, the comics and, yes, in the letters to the editors.

If an editor is really doing their job, there will always be articles or editorials that will not please every reader. There will be occasions when the paper may not arrive as expected. I, too, sometimes feel that the “conservative” dimension may get short shrift … but alas, this term is too easily twisted into forms that Reagan and Buckley wouldn’t recognize anyway, and I do believe in the value of hearing other voices than those that I might choose to hear ordinarily. It can be quite amusing and sometimes (wow!) it’s enlightening.

So I subscribe. So should you.

Don Dillinger


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