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North, East, West, South, – Where are People Getting Their NEWS?

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by Mike Ugulini

Personally, I find nothing more enjoyable, after a hard day's work, then to sit down with a newspaper. The feel of real paper in my hands and the sound of pages turning, soothes me quickly. But of course, the words jumping off the page, espousing information, ideas, and viewpoints are what I'm really after.  And the newspaper always delivers. I continue to seek out an assortment of them, so that I can devour them. I love holding a treasure-trove of words in my hands. I love tearing out pages that intrigue me, to store them in old files or folders for later use in my writing. I just love newspapers!

However, it seems I, and others like me, are rapidly becoming a minority. Hard copy journalism is on the downswing – people are reading less and watching more. We're in the .com, .org., .uk, .ca, and more, online era. Reading the news online is becoming the norm. Text, and moving pictures online, with fast, vibrant, and energetic talk, is taking people away from the rustle of newsprint under soft lamplight in living rooms.

There's nothing wrong with any of that per se. News is news is news, no matter what platform delivers it. That goes, for entertainment, sports, weather, and letters to the editor and such. Increasingly these platforms that deliver are of the high-speed digital type. In fact, the Internet is also taking people away from getting their news from network and cable television. Online is right on time, and delivering the content people want 24/7.

Back to the newspapers - even publishers are beginning to realize the importance of having an online presence. Some papers see their digital versions as their future, and they are cutting back on expenditures in the print format. Advertisers themselves are increasingly going online at the expense of placing ads in traditional dailies. Many newspapers now have elaborate and interactive online versions that complement their hard copy siblings.

I recently checked out the Los Angeles Times online portal...quite impressive, and information packed. I found information and stories of interest to me quickly with a few mouse clicks. I did the same with The Guardian (U.K.), and The Globe and Mail from Canada. All of these online versions were of high quality.

What are the benefits of reading online versions of your favourite newspapers? Well, to be fair, there are several and here they are:

For the Most Part, They're Free

Whether you get unlimited or limited access to those articles, features, and more, free is good. With hard copy newspapers, you pay for your daily version, unless you find one lying around on the street. With online versions, your informative content is there waiting for you, in some form, free. Online paid subscribers do have access to more features and content with some publishers, however.

They're Compact... and Mobile

If you're on the go, your digital newspaper can follow you. Mobile feeds, direct to your device are available from publishers. This is excellent for when you're traveling and want content delivered concisely to your handheld.

You Can Be Selective

With online newspapers, you can print articles you find interesting, to have a hard-copy version. You can choose to print portions of articles. You can cut and paste only what interests you and store in an online file folder in WORD or something similar. You can also e-mail articles you just read to someone.

Reading Options

With online newspapers you can increase or decrease text size to a comfortable reading level by clicking your mouse. You'll need a magnifying glass hovering over small sections of text to do that with a print copy of a newspaper.

Digital Archives

Don't want to keep a stack of old newspapers lying around for future reference?  Is your abode a fire hazard because of the multitude of old newspapers you have piled downstairs? You don't have to worry about that with online versions. Publishers keep digital archives of their past editions for you. You simply select an edition from the year and day you desire, and then read to your heart's content. That in itself is a great benefit of online newspapers.

Audio-Visual Heaven

Online newspapers can give you the sights and sounds behind the words. That Los Angeles Times newspaper I just read online had an audio slideshow accompanying one of their articles. It was a nice bonus on top of a great article. I got to the heart of the issue through the words, but I also had some verbal exposition and multiple pictures to fill in the rest of the story.

When it comes to getting the news, online is staking its claim with vigor. The best of both worlds is combining the love of reading a print version with the convenience and immediacy of an online version. There's no excuse not to have access to news, weather, entertainment, sports, and more in one form or another.

Choose print when you just want to lounge on a couch and peruse - when scrolling, and illuminated screens don't suit your mood. Choose digital editions when you're already online and need an update. Whatever you choose, spending time with newspapers of any stripe is a great way to build your English reading skills.