June 06, 2020   12:51am

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What I would be miserable without …

Years ago at a TED conference, an “Apple Fellow” came to the podium. He said he was going to present mankind’s most useful technological advance. We, of course, thought he would show us something Apple-ly computer-like. Instead, he pulled some paper out of his pocket and slowly unfolded it as he said: “Here it is.” As we pulled ourselves off the floor, he went on to wax poetically about the qualities of this very old technology — paper.

That talk came to mind this week as I read the announcement that The New York Times was a 2009 Pulitzer Award winner in the Journalism category — FIVE times! How terrific to finally hear something positive about the state of my hometown daily. What a confirmation that the investment The Times directs into pure journalism pays off – in prestige, if not dollars.

Of course, prizes not-with-standing, the problems of a newspaper in our instantaneous digital age are not going away. And, yes, I am a registered user of nytimes.com which I frequent daily. But that doesn’t replace my morning analog ritual – critical to my getting up and out:

• Anticipation as I pick The Times up at my front door;
• Wash my Fiji (impt it’s a Fiji) apple and open the first fold to check out the front page, mentally making a note as to which stories to read;
• Cut into my apple as I turn to the back page editorials where I begin to munch (the fruit) and crunch (the info) simultaneously;
• Get half a cup of shredded wheat bran and flip to the front pages of each section;
• Make my cappuccino (I have a great machine) and begin to actually open the pages and indulge.

STOP! There’s something I never knew about before …
OMG: This is something Aubrey would be interested in (or Devin … or snoety readers … or my pal in Portland … or … ) — cut it out and pass it on … or go to nytimes.com and email or post it …
GEEZ: How did that ever happen without my knowing about it …
WOW! Who knew?

Inevitably it’s what I never even think to look for that turns out to be important and I have to be able to flip through and peruse a whole page to know it’s there! The whole point is:  I don’t just want to know what I know about. I want to know what I don’t know about. The rewarding pleasure is in that element of surprise.

As an avid Kindle,* registered-to-multiple-newpapers-dotcom user, I know of what I speak — my morning scenario is just not possible in a digital world!

Fellow Times readers, this is a cry for help. Here’s what you can personally do:

  • If you’re not a New Yorker so don’t have a subscription, well GET ONE because you’re honestly missing the world!
  • If you do have a subscription DON’T BE CHEAP and cancel it, even if you’re away a lot and can’t rationalize the (truly little) expense!
  • DO TAKE The Times seven days a week!
  • If the subscription price increases, PAY IT without complaint (in fact, offer to pay more)!
  • TALK UP The Times to every media buyer/advertiser/subscriber you know!
  • If The Times becomes a non-profit, CONTRIBUTE!

Above all TAKE A STAND AND FIGHT FOR The Times survival!

Suggestions for The Times? Pass them on to me … and I’ll pass them on to The Times.

I hereby promise,


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