Reading the Newspaper

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Laptop with the Oregonian Newspaper displaying on the screen

Did you know that you can sign up to receive the electronic version of the Oregonian for your classroom?

, PCC Faculty Librarian

November 1, 2009

There is a long practice in the US of denigrating the local paper. When I lived in Richmond, Virginia, the two dailies were the Times-Dispatch and the News-Leader. Everyone, including the reporters, referred to them as the "Times-Disgrace" and the "News-Loser". In Portland, our scribes work for what some cynically describe as "The Boregonian". Despite the label, The Oregonian is a good paper, having won several Pulitzer prizes in recent years.

There is a long practice in the US of denigrating the local paper. When I lived in Richmond, Virginia, the two dailies were the Times-Dispatch and the News-Leader. Everyone, including the reporters, referred to them as the "Times-Disgrace" and the "News-Loser". In Portland, our scribes work for what some cynically describe as "The Boregonian". Despite the label, The Oregonian is a good paper, having won several Pulitzer prizes in recent years.

There is much talk about the death of newspapers, and while I doubt that will happen, you don’t want to miss your opportunity to support your local paper. Ask the old-timers about “Yaw’s restaurant and its acclaimed Hamburgers”; they miss it now that it is gone from their lives.

The best copy of a newspaper is one you find in a coffee or barber shop. It is the best because it is free and may even be the current edition. The worst part or reading a coffee shop newspaper is that someone has already done the Jumble, and they messed it up, too. There may be a good recipe, or a coupon that is worth something, and you may get lucky and find it intact. If it has been torn out, it's a sure signal that something worthwhile was in the paper. I suggest you find another copy and commit your own act of vandalism on it.

The second best way to get the paper is to become a subscriber. The paper will be wrapped in a protective sleeve and delivered to your doorstep. Really. For 50 cents,you get the latest in-depth news every morning.. Every day of the year. Consider your monthly cable TV bill, and ask yourself if it is worth saving over $2 a day to open the front door. I think so.

If you are nearing retirement, and your PERS account cannot bear the stress of 50 cents a day, there are other options. One is to come into the library and read it. Bring a covered drink if you wish. We’re okay with that. No sticky buns, but coffee is fine. We do frown on your tearing out the best parts, but if you are discrete, you can probably do the Jumble , in ink, and we won’t notice.

If you are the sort of person who thinks reading online is too cool for school, The Oregonian is still for you. Oregonlive.com has some articles from the paper, but only for the last week or two. It features lots of photos, but no funnies. Who wants a paper without funnies? The New York Times doesn’t have funnies, and nobody has ever heard of it.

If you want the entire paper online, including the funnies, login to the free E-Oregonian for Educators. It covers the past 30 days' worth of news. If you want to do the Jumble, you can print it out. Keep in mind, however, that if you print out a recipe and a coupon too, your printing costs may have exceeded the 50 cents per day subscription cost to have the paper delivered to your doorstep. Maybe that's their marketing idea.

If you want to find articles back to 1987, a rockin’ year of Reagan telling Gorby to tear down the wall, the trapping of the last wild California Condor, and all of us singing along to “Bad”, then search for The Oregonian using Search Journals by Title and select LexisNexis Academic. This database gives you the news (no funnies, no Jumble) back to 1987. Before that, well, Multnomah County Library has The Oregonian on microfilm, back to the very first issue. You'll have to visit the University of Oregon’s Oregon Newspaper Index. The good folks in Eugene went through every issue of the paper from 1852 to 1987. I’m glad they did it, but personally, I’d miss the Jumble.

Here are the Top 10 Reasons for Reading a Newspaper by CyberJournalist.net. See if you agree.

Library & Learning
Vol. 1 Issue 2 November 2009