Monday, September 29, 2008

Bonus credit for a home subscription to the Shreveport Times

If you still "take" the Times, you are part of a shrinking group of citizens. In some of my classes 90% or more of my Magnet freshmen say their family does not subscribe to the Times.

Yet as a social studies teacher, college-readiness coach and writer, I know the importance of getting a physical paper in hand every day. I read both the and the each day. When I have the paper copy in my hands I always get more value. With paper folded in front of me, I see more, I consume a bit more, I profit more.

So I offer this experiment as an optional but important consideration -
* Try a subscription to the Times for 3 months, $10 per month. Put an emphasis on skimming the paper virtually every day.
* Try to measure your value. I contend that it beats using KDAQ, KTBS, KEEL or any other source for regional news.
* The Times at its best is an important element of this community. Example? See the lengthy article on Sun on a waste disposal company that has repeatedly dumped toxic waste in the Red River.

Reasons not to take the Times are many.
- Cost. That's understandable, yet I consider it a smart investment, not a trimmable expense.
- Time. Some days there's no time to read the paper. I know! Yet I save the paper and catch up every few days. I still find reading a dated paper quite advantageous.
- Clutter. Yes. Well, it is intelligent clutter.
- Bias. All newspapers are imperfect and biased in various ways. The Times works hard to bring both liberal and conservative voices into print each day.
- Quality. The Times does not operate at what you might call an award-winning level. But it is a usable product produced by educated people who care about the quality of their work.

Newspapers perform an important role in the checks and balances of the US system. The 3-way struggle for dominance involves business, government and the press. Each entity would be happy if the other were not looking over its shoulder.

- Government tries to bring oversight to industry.
- Industry tries to influence the course of legislation and governmental activity.
- The press tries to keep both government and industry accountable to the public.
- Both the government and industry constantly try to muzzle the press. They both have many ways to be persuasive in regards what the press prints.
- The public rewards the press when it reveals the key secrets of industry and government.
- It's is similar to the legislative vs executive vs press part of the checks and balances system.

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