That's Old News

That’s Old News

Whether they’re sitting on top of my neighbor’s recycling can or outside the coffee shop, old newspapers are everywhere. And so often are they tossed away, after just a few eyes have glossed over them. I try to give them one more purpose.

It began with the simple realization that what I didn’t read I wouldn’t know. “Why the hell should I care?” was my honest opinion before reading an article that covered a dispute over whether or not to adopt a national standard of electronic cow identification. Within five minutes, I understood that it signified the final outcry by farmers against the agribusiness conglomerates and their efforts to industrialize the food that ends up on my dinner plate. Reading the newspaper continuously opens my mind to new appreciations and curiosities, and transformed from being a chore for information into an essential element of my daily life.

I live in the generation that gets impatient when the occasional website takes longer than ten seconds to load, the generation that introduced the online acronym TLDR, which stands for “too long, didn’t read.” According to the magnificent amounts of data collected from me by online advertisers, I visit approximately 2,646 web pages per month, averaging 88 web pages a day. But when opening the paper, I don’t have the subtly inimical luxury of reading six things at once as I often try to do on the Internet, nor am I bombarded with flashing sidebars and colorful video advertisements. Instead I have renewed the forgotten satisfaction of slowing down, allowing me to focus my attention on articles without distractions. It has brought me to appreciate an old newspaper not only as an invaluable source of information, but as a work of art as well.

Each article is a collection of facts and opinions deliberately strung together in a way that gives them meaning and purpose. Journalists are mindful and artistic, selecting just the right ingredients to cultivate the flavor they are trying to deliver while still allowing readers to formulate their own conclusions. And sure enough, by the end of each article that I read I have formulated a fresh perspective, finding new appreciation and exposure to otherwise neglected topics. The most beautiful aspect, however, is the power these articles hold in connecting me to the greater, global society beyond my “18-24-year-old” bubble. I am constantly reminded how much more there is to life, and how many things are happening simultaneously around the world.

My morning routine has turned a 180 within the past year. Waking up ten minutes before class, frantically trying to gather my belongings and hopefully slipping into my seat unnoticed just a few minutes late always put me on edge and scatterbrained throughout the day. However, since the morning paper cannot be rushed, I have been able to start the day with a sense of calmness, and allow ample time to enjoy my morning coffee and eggs. Through the newspaper I have discovered patience, understanding, and most of all, peace.

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