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The New York Times was first published on this day in 1851. How important is print news to you? Does the internet render circulation obsolete, or will print never die?

Why, Beth, are you doing this Writer's Block assignment, when you have more on your mind than could fit in the Grand Canyon and are supposed to be working?

Well, beloved reader, the reason is simple. I'm sick to death of both worrying and fretting. I'm taking a damn break. So if this is disjointed, it's because I think as I write...whether or not print dies is nearly the furthest thing from my mind at the moment. Nearly. Second only to speaking like a damn pirate for a day. >.<

So, how important is printed news to me? I HATE newspapers. Sorry, writers of newspapers, but it's true. I mean, I hate most organized news sources of any kind, because I think they tend to be extremist, elitist, and purposely get everyone all worked up over what is probably minor. But printed newspapers are messy, build up quickly, get all over the place. They are one more piece of litter to come into my home and have to be gotten rid of. There's no way I can quickly and easily find information I want...I kind of have to dig through, or hope I see a tag line advertising what's going to be found in that section. Basically...I hate newspapers.

There are some news sources I like, mostly online, that just report the news without interpreting it for my weak, pathetic little mind. I love them. No lean, left or right, just the facts of what happened. I will also say that in newspapers I have read in the past, as well as magazines, there are writers that I adore and would love to read more of. If there was going to be any value in a newspaper for me, that would be it. Articles about general life, written by people with flair for words and intelligent and interesting viewpoints, that I can't find online.

That said, as much value as those have to me ... I don't subscribe to a newspaper, and haven't for at least 8 years. Nope...not even for coupons.

Oddly enough, I think 9/11 opened my eyes to how much useless, junk paper we keep around in our lives. Little articles here, headlines there, piles of coupons there, a box of yesterday - or last weeks' - news. I think seeing the paper flowing endlessly all around the city, just flying everywhere....that changed me. It just piles up around us - paper, paper, paper. Fliers, junk mail, nonsense and mayhem left littering every flat surface, creating massive amounts of dust and garbage to handle. Ever filled a trash bag with that crap and then tried to lift it and were unable, or tried to lift it and had the bag rip??? Who needs all that in their life?!?

Why, when there's digital media that weighs nothing, is gone as soon as it's come, but is always available in archive without creating dust? When rather than sorting through 50 pages of all the junk that's been paid to be printed I can sit, type six keywords, and have what I wanted to know at my fingertips? And if I don't absorb the written word as well from the computer screen as I do from the page, I can print the article - ONE piece of paper, to read and throw away. Not fifty. Yay, me.

I don't know if print will die...but I kinda feel like it will. Honestly, I don't know how newspapers manage to get any sales anymore at all. Which makes me kind of sad, actually, and makes me worry about the people employeed by printed news. But the times, they are a changing.