Bring back the Morning Edition!

Of all the things that I miss most about the old print news paradigm, I miss discovery the most.

That feels like a weird thing to write today when there’s literally infinite content out there and it’s easy to fall down rabbit holes at Wikipedia or TV Tropes or Reddit, but that’s not the same type of discovery I’m talking about. Nor, exactly, am I talking about the kind of discovery that might get someone to read what I’m writing here—the ability to get your thoughts out into the world.

Instead, I’m thinking about the way that I used to read the newspaper every morning, or various weeklies when they came out: for the most part, I read them cover to cover. Starting on my high school commute, I would read the Times backwards to the front. I’d usually start with the Arts section, scanning the front page for the article that caught my eye first before ultimately reading every review, interview and blurb; then I’d move on to Sports and BusinessDay before reading the op-eds and then ultimately the news.

And the result was that I wound up exposed to a lot of stuff that I definitely wouldn’t have clicked on. I might not read an entire article about the new lead dancer at the New York City Ballet, but I’d see the headline and read at least the lede and the nut graf. In the front section, thanks to the old pyramid AP style, I could read about each item until I lost interest—but at least I could get the gist of things.

But today, when I only get the Times on the weekend and my local paper usually gets delivered after I have left for my commute to Manhattan, I’m reading most of my news on a tablet. And reading online, with its bottomless well of content, means that I’m reading far more narrowly than I did before. Because I can never have the sense that I’ve finished reading the paper for the day, I’m more likely to scan the headlines a few times a day and maybe click on four or five articles to read them in more detail. I’m missing a lot of things I would have discovered serendipitously in the past.