The weather is hot but it’s beautiful out nevertheless, a great day to head to the beach or lounge on a shady lawn somewhere and enjoy the gorgeous lack of inertia that often characterizes summer Sundays. It used to be that I’d spend these days — every Sunday — reading the newspaper. Once upon a time, I had the luxury of declaring that Sundays were my time and mine alone, and as such it was therefore my prerogative to spend as much of the day as I liked doing something immensely enjoyable but also good for my brain.
These days I have a young family, and a startup — and, let’s face it, ubiquitous Internet access that makes printed paper seem obsolete — so I can’t recall the last time I indulged myself with the Sunday paper anymore.
But jeez, the Sunday paper is still great, still an amazing product of a long, long tradition of careful editorial packaging and art direction and just general purposefulness. If I could afford to spend a whole day with it again, I would, and for anyone who finds themselves with a Sunday to kill, I recommend picking up the Sunday edition of your local newspaper.
Yes, of course we can get news from so many different outlets now, and we can manipulate the delivery of news so it’s so much more convenient than the huge, intimidating tome that is the Sunday paper. But we can also, from time to time, take out a day to enjoy it. Maybe not every Sunday, but once in a while we can find a day to benefit from this still amazing weekly product that’s designed to reward a few hours of our undivided casual attention. I bet if you do this you’ll come across a story you probably wouldn’t have read otherwise, and spot an ad for something you would’ve missed otherwise, and, maybe best of all, you won’t feel like you’ve wasted your time surfing aimlessly the way you would have had you spent those hours on the Web. Hurry up and give it a shot, because sadly the Sunday paper is not going to be around for much longer.
Good newspapers will never be obsolete as long we appreciate great, in-depth reporting and great analysis, two things that are never going to appear on Twitter.
And one of the best things about a real paper newspaper is that I glance at every page — and so I absorb headlines and often more on every single topic — international, national, business, etc. So far there’s no interface available via my computer monitor that can do that with anything close to the ease and efficiency of paper.
We still read the Sunday paper every weekend and I hope they stay around long enough for our kids to pick up the habit. The funny thing is that the kids are so accustomed to seeing us read on screens that the paper seems exotic to them.
Another thing that the words ‘Sunday paper’ evokes for me is ‘brunch’. I have a young family myself so a Sunday paper and brunch is absolute luxury and the rare time it does happen, it is great. I live in Europe and our Sunday papers are not nearly as ‘intimidating’ as those in the US, but it still requires a few hours to do it properly.
Brunch and surfing the news online would not do it, however! I agree that nothing beats reading a physical newspaper, despite all its flaws (the ink stains, the pages or entire sections which somehow always manage to get mixed up or go missing entirely, the sheets flapping around in the breeze). It’s also so much more of a social experience — you exchange bits of the paper with your reading partners, maybe point out interesting bits to them, or just wait for them to finish a particular section.
And I’m the same as Joe and everyone else I imagine who appreciates the Sunday read — I find that I read or at least glance at all the bits, something I would never do on a browser. Long live the Sunday paper!
For a year or so after I got out of Journalism school, I used to make a morning run to the corner bodega to pick up a copy of the New York Times.
I’d do it just for the magazine. Yes, I know I could have gotten a subscription and had it all for cheaper. But, I enjoyed the simple deliberate ritual in a modern world where my morning ritual seemed to always be: wake up, roll over, check email.
Sundays were different, so I made the effort to get out and grab a paper.
I haven’t done this for many years. What I miss the most about it is the feeling collective consciousness that revolves(d?) around the sunday New York Times. Everyone seemed to read the lead feature. We’d talk about it over drinks and coffee.
My questions are (no need for an answer, I’m just living in them): as collective consciousness around paper artifacts disintegrates, how does that change our relationship with each other, the media, and the conversations we have?
Am I responsible for creating my own Sunday magazine for all of my friends, in order to keep our collective mythology somewhat similar?
You’re lucky to live in a place with a decent Sunday newspaper — ours, never much good, is now extremely poor; probably only 32 pages with a couple of weak magazine supplements. Urgh.
Agree! My friends think I’m crazy to subscribe to the NY Times print edition on the weekends, the Sunday paper really is a great product!
Khoi, I’m really glad you wrote this. I grew up with the Times. The Sunday version: ritual, sharing, the few brave souls who can read the whole thing and, of course, the things you wouldn’t have read otherwise. I’m waiting for the internet to catch up with the things we wouldn’t read otherwise.. is it the Times website? Or me? I never pick up the print version anymore but when I do see it at my local cafe it’s so fun! Ooo.. look at all these articles I would not have seen! I can’t make sense of this disconnect between online and print experiences.. specifically the NYTimes. Is this already lost?
It’s the bookstore ‘accidental discovery’ thing too. Amazon recommendations are incomparable to physical browsing. It’s a problem.
I’m only 21, but the newspaper is still deeply important to me. I read the Seattle Times at least every Sunday (usually more) and do the NYT crossword as many days a week as I can manage.
As an editor at daily newspaper (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette) who edits a Sunday section, am v. happy to read this. Depressed, too, that the Sunday NYT would come to seem like a luxury leisure option and not essential normal media consumption. It is daunting, all that bulk, but we can read through the week. But thanks, Khoi, for putting in this good word and reminder — I love and admire the NYT website, surely because of your work on it, but the print is the main way it all makes sense to me, 7 days a week. (Though I think the design of new Sunday Review is a step backwards: all those alleys of white space — disorienting.)
Thank you! Your remarks have been sent to Khoi.