I understand to some extent the current status of newspapers. They are scrambling for their lives against advertisers who are shifting to the internet. What I don’t understand is why the Reader cuts off Cecil’s column midway through and causes us to put down the paper and go to the computer - IF we want to finish the column. This readus interruptus is obnoxious, and no matter how highly I esteem The Master and his columns, I’m not going to drop what I’m doing to finish the column. I’m holding the paper in my hand, for god’s sake and I made a special trip to the corner to even pick up the paper. When you do this, you’re making your own newspaper irrelevant. If you’re going to go on line exclusively, then do so and get out of the paper business now. But, if you’re going to have a paper that people will hold in their hands and read, then do that. Every time a newspaper tells me to stop reading and go on line, they hasten their own demise. If your paper has readers, can’t you sell some ads? If you’re telling your readers to go to the internet, how can you justify selling ads in the paper? But why do that? I don’t get it.
Can you elaborate for those of us without access to the print version of The Reader. Are you saying you read half of the current column and then it just stops? And tells you to finish reading online? If so, that’s bizarre, at least to me.
Yessir. Exactly so. Latest edition ends in mid-sentence and then this: “For the rest of Cecil’s reply see chicago.straightdope.com”. You make sense of this?
That’s weird. I used to be subscribed to some kind of mailing list that would do that. Only the first part of Cecil’s article was published with a link to the rest of the story. Annoyed the crap out of me. In the print media it would even be more inappropriate.
I agree… it’s obnoxious and makes no sense. I typically read the general SD column all the way through (which is printed in full in the hard-copy paper) even if it’s a topic I’m only marginally interested in. I almost never read the Chicago SD column, simply because unless it’s a really compelling or memorable topic, by the time I get back to a computer, I’ve forgotten all about looking it up to finish it.
It’s ridiculous. The main column is complete, but the Straight Dope Chicago column ends with a plug for the website. Not convenient when I’m on the El.
The worst part about the column being cut short and having to go online is that you can’t even do it right away. The paper is distributed late Wednesday evening (I pick it up around 12:15 a.m. downtown), but you can’t access the full column until Friday morning, I believe. By the time it’s available, I’ve forgotten all about checking it out online, let alone what the topic was (yeah, my mind’s a sieve these days).
And since my OP is from May of 2009, it would appear that the handful of us in this this thread represent a minority that the Reader does not care about. Oh, well. I still think it’s shortsighted. But there’s a herd mentality that says, “We’re doomed, let’s blow it all up.” That, of course, is different from, “Things are changing, we have to change.” Still, it seems as if they’re trying to have it both ways and if newspapers are to function as they used to - i.e. the watchdog of the public - they’ll have to continue to exist on paper, where they can be passed around, seen by large numbers of people at the same time, and be a public institution - Off line. But that’s a different conversation.