Thursday, 2 May 2013


This is Day Two of life in the bunker without the Japan Times. I know this because my wife asked me: "Are you missing your paper?" and for a moment I thought she meant working for one, which I haven't done for six years, and haven't missed since I discovered belatedly that you can blog and write ebooks without having to ask anyone's permission.
"Oh yeah, you're going to cancel our subscription. When's that happen?"
"Oh, I didn't realise."
An unread paper in the post box is worth two in the print run. Or something.
Actually, I did notice a lack of news this morning, largely because I'd forgotten to recharge my phone, so I had to make it through my shower and a pot of coffee before I was able to get a bit of celeb news that the Harry Potter actor will be starring in the film of Jake Adelstein's Tokyo Vice book. Somehow, I  doubt that snippet made the print edition of the Japan Times, but I didn't feel the urge to log on to the JT site to check.
What's been apparent to the wife for a long time has finally sunk in to my thick skull: why are we paying for something that we rarely use, is already out of date when we do and that we can get more easily for free?
To support journalism? To keep my drinking buddies in a job? Because old habits die hard?
No reason I could come up with was very compelling. I suppose if I'm honest, it's more of the last reason than anything else; how are we to know the value of the news unless it's been approved and stamped as Page 1 quality or whatever.
Yes, yes, the rest of the world has already moved on. And I have too. It's quite liberating to be free of the format, where the print medium is the message. I quite like constructing my own hierarchy of news. What's on Our Man's virtual page 1?
Today, it's Helen Keller was a radical militant, Corporate cuddly toy makers exploit Chicago's poor, Harry Potter star to play Jake in the film of Tokyo Vice.
Yes, yes, all those stories were written by pro journalists (tho I heard about them for free on Twitter) and I'm not sure how you pay for pros, but I'm pretty sure it's not through print subscriptions now.
If the Japan Times had an app or a subscription to Kindle, I wouldn't mind paying for it, but they don(t and as it stands, why should I pay more a month for my subscription to my newspaper than my smartphone?


Claire said...

I stopped taking a paper several years ago. The only time I miss it is when the boys' football boots are wet through, and I don't have any newspaper to scrunch up and stuff them with.

Patrick Sherriff said...

The mother-in-law still subscribes to the Gomiuri, so I can still have the pleasure of screwing newsprint pictures of Abe into little balls and shoving them into my girls' soggy plimsoles.