Friday, May 8, 2009

NYTimes Escapes

Yet another casualty of our economic times is the Escapes section of the Friday edition of the New York Times. For me, the section signaled the end of the work week, when I could thumb through its pages and imagine the weekend escapes featured. I'd envision myself wandering the cabins with a cup of coffee, or reading a book on a seaside deck. Oftentimes I would clip a story or a photo for a client who was building a weekend retreat, a way to inspire him or her to persevere with a dream home.
Escapes is now integrated into the Arts section, but has lost some content along the way. The loss may seem insignificant, and perhaps it is, but it is indicative of a larger trend: the loss of printed text. One could definitely argue the merits of such a trend-- less printed material may mean fewer natural resources used in production and in recycling; however there is something about the tactile page-- the stories you wouldn't have clicked on, the clippings tacked on a bulletin board, the immediacy of traveling with a newspaper tucked under one's arm-- that compels me to reject the digital age. But I am old enough to remember when people wouldn't leave messages on that newfangled invention the answering machine or trust their credit card information to be sent over the Internet, so perhaps it's just a matter of time that I will surrender my quaint notions about the newspaper. Will it go the way of the eight-track? Will we read this entry and scoff? Perhaps the younger generations, enticed by the electronic screen, will read even more, like moths to a porch light. Time will tell, just as few in the 13th Century would have predicted that there would be more printed material in one Sunday edition of the Times than in their entire century.

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