Of the approximately 250 units in my apartment building, just two, by my count, get daily newspapers delivered. I think we can agree that doesn’t bode well for the future of print journalism.
One of the subscribers is a 70ish guy who lives on my floor. He has wispy white hair and a demeanor of peevish bewilderment. That makes him sound like Bernie Sanders, but I assure you my neighbor is much drier and less charismatic than the senior senator from Vermont.
He gets the New York Times and the Boston Globe. My neighbor, I mean. I don’t know about Bernie.
The other newspaper subscriber in my building is me. I signed up for the Globe shortly after moving to the Boston area in 2021.
Sometimes, after picking up his papers downstairs in the lobby, my neighbor will leave my paper by my door. Other times, I’ll do the reverse. This little kindness we do for one another makes me think we should strike up a friendship, but he’s pretty cold whenever we ride the elevator together.
My current strategy for winning him over is to bond over our (presumed) shared connection to Northwestern University, my alma mater. I once saw him wearing a purple NU sweatshirt but I didn’t get a chance to accost him, and now it’s taking the shirt forever to resurface in the rotation.
Someone should alert the alumni organization that two (presumed) Northwestern grads are the only ones keeping journalism alive in this town. Go Wildcats.
My favorite days to get the newspaper are Wednesdays for the food section, Fridays for the weekend stuff (reviews of new movies, previews of upcoming music and theater performances), and Sundays for the parts devoted to culture, books, and travel. The rest of the time, the Globe mostly confines its stabs at fun to the comics and puzzle pages.
The only still-running comic strip I can stand is Doonesbury, but it’s all reruns now except for on Sundays. This state of things significantly diminishes what was always one of the strip’s strengths: topical social comment. These days it’s more like, “Ooh, snap, about time someone took down Sam Donaldson. Speak truth to power, Gary Trudeau!”
As for the puzzles, I always work the crossword, even though I find the one the Globe runs to be (sad brag alert) way too easy. For the last few months, I have also taken to attempting the daily sudoku.
As the week progresses, the sudoku gets more difficult with each passing day before resetting to easy on Monday. I do just fine through Thursday, but I’m frequently stumped on Friday and Saturday.
In the Globe, the puzzle appears next to the weather forecast and above Frank Stewart’s Daily Bridge Club, a column, with diagrams, about some imaginary people being tediously folksy and playing your great-aunt Doreen’s favorite card game.
With all the drastic cuts to newspaper staffs and coverage across the country in recent years, you’re telling me this bridge thing gets to endure? In perpetuity? And this is the industry that we randomly scattered Northwestern alums are supposed to save?
As Daily Bridge Club’s Cy the Cynic might say, When you bet on the wrong horse, don’t be surprised when it’s sent to the glue factory.