Some years ago when the computer age landed full bore into practically every household in America, there was an accepted prediction newsprint would soon disappear from the planet.
Thankfully that has not happened. Sure these days you can find the national and local news on your PC and even your phone, but that is a poor substitute for a newspaper. There is something so comfortable about holding the news in your hand. Being able to spend a few quiet minutes in your favorite chair with the paper is a pleasure of life. For just a while we are able to shut out the hectic world we live in and pore over stories that interest us.
The Internet and television are mediums of headlines. Both must grab your attention in short blurbs or sound bites in order to succeed. News that comes to you via a screen seldom delves into the depths we require.
Inevitably the hard news headlines are interspersed with tales of the Kardashians or, perhaps, Paris Hilton.
There is little room on the glowing eye for the small local stories that we all love. Local news gives us a feeling of community and of being a part of something. Big news has little time for that. I don't know about you, but news that hits me in a flash does not stick like the printed word. If I really want to retain something, I must read it on paper.
Now let's get down to the truly important functions of a newspaper. Trying to carry an iPad or Kindle into the bathroom is just out of step with nature. Newspapers provide the short articles that are perfect in assisting with personal relief. That is a valued function. My own work falls neatly into that column. I know that right now some of you are reading this while resting on the ceramic throne and I'm fine with that.
My column of 500 to 700 words is just about perfect for a bathroom visit. That is no accident and I am happy to be of service. I also know my picture lines many a birdcage across the county and is pressed into service to wrap fish. It's good to be needed. When you send a gift, you need newspaper to stuff the box. If you use my words for that, I'm good with it. Go ahead and line the floor with the Hometown News when you have painting to do. Let's see a computer do that.
I still have a copy of a newspaper telling of Dale Earnhardt's death at the track and of the 911 terrorist attacks. I know you can pull that up on the Net, but it is just not the same kind of keepsake.
I know the youth of today prefer to use the Internet for all forms of communication and clearly that trend will continue, but your local paper will not disappear. All of the things that TV and the Net leave out, you will still be able to find right here. I'm proud of that.
Some time back l appeared before the Ormond Beach chapter of AARP. When I asked if they read The Hometown News, the crowd broke out in applause and not just polite applause either. The group let me know they appreciate our efforts. Look, I know we are not perfect. I suppose the most common complaint is about circulation. Our editor Cecil Brumley would tell you that we are constantly working to improve that. In the meantime keep letting us know what your likes and dislikes are concerning your local paper. Oh by the way, just to let you know what a small community the newspaper business is -- Cecil and I both once worked for the Daily Iberian in Louisiana. Me as an eighth grade delivery boy and he many years later in the newsroom. Small world.
So look, enjoy the paper and use it to line the table for your next crab boil or to protect from pet droppings. We will be here as long as you need us.
Dan Smith is on the board of directors for the Ormond Beach Historical Society and The Motor Racing Heritage Association and is the author of two books, "The World's Greatest Beach" and "I Swear the Snook Drowned." Email questions and comments to email@example.com or call (386) 441-7793.