I love physical newspapers. Three dailies are delivered to my front door every morning. I spread them out on the island in the kitchen and browse through each section, sometimes just glancing at headlines and at others reading through stories that catch my eye. And because I go through every page, I often see articles that I’d never have sought out on a tablet or through a browser. There’s a lot of learning that can be done with an old-school broadsheet.
But print is in trouble. Readership is declining. Advertisers are bailing. We’re losing journalists, professionals who know how to dig for stories. Editions are getting thinner. Some predict that it’s just a matter of time before old-fashioned newspapers disappear entirely.
This doesn’t seem to bother Rheostatics guitarist Dave Bidini. As an author and former columnist, he has the same reverence for newspapers that I do. Moreso, in fact, because he’s starting up a new print-only paper that will not take advertising (save for classifieds) and will be delivered door-to-door, paperboy style.
The West End Phoenix, a 20-page broadsheet set to debut in October, will serve a selected area of west end Toronto, although staff says they won’t hestitate to send a “foreign correspondent” to places like far-flung Mimco.
How will the paper cover costs? Patrons on the website (www.westendphoenix.com) and annual subscriptions of $56.50. About 750 people have signed up so far with the goal being 2,000 by October. The longer-term end of the year goal sees them sitting at 5,000.
I love the idea. Go get ’em.