The Death of Our Local Paper? Maybe……Maybe Not

Recently, our little local newspaper raised their daily price from fifty cents to seventy five! Holy cow, that seems like soooo much more money. Seventy five cents eats up my dollar. Now, instead of buying the paper three times a week on the way to work I wait until I get to the office. Somebody always has one  there. Because of the price increase the Sentinel Record  lost my $1.50 a week.

I understand newspapers are struggling.  Prices for everything are going up. And their readership is very old and dying off. Twenty five and thirty yearolds never read actual news papers anymore. Hippsters never read a paper. They get all their news and information off their phones. And most news papers don’t cover things like MMA or local indie music, that might draw some younger readers back. (I’m proud to say our paper does a good job writing about local music)

But wait, before we set the last paper on fire, think about this… local newspapers are incredibly important. Nobody in our town of 40,000 or county of 100,000 thousand does any investigative journalism except the Sentinel Record.  The local radio stations get their news from the newspaper, they don’t have reporters digging up stories or following local government issues.

Our paper has a sports department who writes with elegance and humor about our high school teams, local athletes and the thoroughbred track Oak lawn Jockey Club. Nobody else does that and it makes me so happy because they care and write beautifully.

And then there are the human interest stories, the employee of the month, the old lady collecting diapers for poor families, the fire departments fund raiser car wash.  I don’t need my local paper to tell me about foreign policy or the weather in Bangladesh but I count on the Sentinel Record to tell me when my kids should trick-or-treat and what the mayor and board of directors are up to.

 Radio and tv stations make us happy, they entertain and sometimes inspire. And they have the ability to inform us instantly so we know when a tornado is possible or a road has to be closed because of a wreck. But we need our local papers because they dig deep, into stories, into our communities and into our lives.

Ok, I’ll stop whining like a little girl about the seventy five cents. I need my paper.

(I work for a radio station and hope this doesn’t get me in trouble)


Meatloaf Can’t Stop Crying…Tonight on Celebrity Apprentice!

I’m re-posting my Celebrity Apprentice blog because I just heard the promo for tonight’s show. THREE PEOPLE WILL BE FIRED AND MEATLOAF CAN’T STOP CRYING. Happy Mother’s Day! I can’t wait and I think the show must be good for me. I look forward to Sunday night like a teenaged girl hungers for her phone after a two hour separation. I get happy thinking about Lil’ John and Star Jones and I deserve to be happy, right?

For two magnificent and decadent hours each week my daughter, Lexie and I, hole up in the bedroom to watch Celebrity Apprentice. We yell at Donald Trump,Star Jones and Gary Busey, we plot and plan and waste two hours of our lives. It’s great.

Watching really stinky tv for a couple of hours is the most delicious thing we do all week. We both know it’s bad tv, we both know it’s a waste of time and everybody else in the house rolls their eyes when Sunday rolls around and we turn on the tv. But it’s so freakin’ fun and it’s the perfect stress relief. As I write these words I can hear all family and child experts sighing, I know I’m supposed to discourage mindless tv watching and celebrity worship but have the heard some of the crazy stuff Gary Busey says?

Like most American families is schedule to the extreme. Alex and I both work full time and right after school the lessons, practices and work outs begin for Sandor and Lex. There’s band, taekwondo, jazz, gymnastics etc, then there’s home work, dinner and showers. But on Sunday nights there’s just a bunch of pillows, snacks and The Donald.

Last week when Trump didn’t fire Gary Busey, we nearly had simultaneous seizures. If Lil’ John says anything, we laugh our butts off cause he’s so smart and funny. LaToya makes us both cringe and we finally decided the right word for her is “vapid”. And last week, during the commercials I made Lex and Sandor watch Meat Loaf videos so they would know something about his rock and roll persona. That’s right, I let my daughter watch “Heaven by the Dashboard Lights”. He was a big fat rockin’ crazy man back then.

I know, a trip to the library, an art project or a hike together might be more wholesome and edifying but you have to find what fits. Sometimes family stress relief comes in the weirdest places. Lil’ John’s hair, Donald Trump’s hair, Gary Busey’s hair. The important thing is to recognize and protect that tasteless and irreplaceable time.