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Books, Etcetera with Lynn Carey: Save Our Newspapers

Lynn endorses a Pleasant Hill mom’s effort to save our daily dose of printed news.



A couple of years ago, people in various parts of the country were up in arms because the Sunday Books section in their local newspapers were being threatened with extinction. Some did, indeed, lose the section. I was glad to see a fuss made out of it, as the Books sections are some of my favorite parts in the Sunday papers.

Now it seems laughable that we were worried about the Books sections going away. Now entire newspapers are disappearing. We lost the Rocky Mountain News last month. The Seattle Post-Intelligencer is on shaky ground.

It’s happening in our own backyard, with the San Francisco Chronicle reportedly on the verge of layoffs in the triple-digits if they want to save the paper.

And last month the MediaNews Group—which owns the Contra Costa Times, Oakland Tribune and San Jose Mercury News newspapers, among others—ordered its employees to take a mandatory five-day work furlough, explaining that otherwise more layoffs would be coming. (Although I happen to know someone who actually got laid off in the middle of all the furloughs … at first people didn’t realize she was gone for good, they just thought it was her time for unpaid leave.) They’ve already lost about 200 people in the last year. I stopped counting at 170, so can’t be sure.

Most newspaper lovers are just wringing their hands and shrugging their shoulders, feeling helpless at the impending doom of the tangible daily dose of news. But the other day I met DeAnne Musolf of Pleasant Hill who is so appalled at the thought of losing newspapers, she’s become a one-woman force to try to save them.

We met for coffee, and she is one of those people who you meet and feel you’ve known them forever. She’s fun, energetic, passionate and determined. And she wants to spread the word on the importance of newspapers. She’s trying it by urging people to buy bumper stickers for everyone they know who will suffer if newspapers go away (which is everyone).
The bumper stickers say, “Always have a clue about your world and your town. Read the newspaper.”

DeAnne has a slew of reasons for her mission, ranging from ecological to economical to ethical. She likes to be able to believe what she reads. She likes knowing the stories are balanced. She says she just likes to be able to turn the pages. You just don’t get that kind of satisfaction reading the news online.

I’m a newspaper addict. I’ve subscribed to one as long as I’ve lived on my own. I love Sundays because on that day I get to read two papers, the Contra Costa Times and the New York Times. If I’m traveling, I buy the local paper, even if it’s in a language I don’t understand.

I love newspapers for the same reasons DeAnne gives, but also because you never know what you’re going to get when you turn the page.  I despise bumper stickers, but I think it’s time to buy one. I can’t imagine life without newspapers.

But the fact that you are reading this blog online says it all.

For more information on Musolf's campaign, go to saveournewspapers.com.

 

For 12 years, Lynn Carey has run the Times Book Club, which now appears in the Contra Costa Times and Oakland Tribune newspapers. For the past 17 years, she's lived in Lafayette with her husband, Lamorinda Sun columnist Mike Zampa, and their two teenagers.

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