Last week, my tutor put a question to a room of slightly sleepy English students: "do you read the newspaper"? Disappointingly, the general consensus was no. "The Metro" is an exception and a total of two people claimed to have picked up the university paper this term.
I love the paper. I could find my content online, but the black and white inky stuff is more satisfying. I like how it rubs off on my hands – I feel it’s a paper well read. And so, even though I have several online subscriptions, I trot off to the shop in the morning and pick up my daily fix. Everything about it is better, and I like to imagine the Internet flailing insecurely over the amount of cookies it is consuming.
Now I am back at the institution and not in an office where the day’s papers are at my disposal, and access to tomorrow’s is a given, I have started to go on a paper run again. It’s slightly less romantic in my neighbourhood, but in my head I imagine it’s a quick cycle to the village shop accompanied by my border collie who runs along – freely, no lead! – beside me before waiting patiently outside. Oh sorry, we’re not on Home Farm anymore, my mistake.
Putting the rose-tinted spectacles aside, I think everyone should make this a daily event. Why? Because there’s actually no reason not to.
You might be reading this online, but that is no excuse not to leave your student squat and pop to the Co-op. Better still, try the local newsagents – while we’re here trying to invigorate the economy – and spend one Great British pound on a newspaper of your political or cultural persuasion. It doesn’t matter which, just go and buy one. The Independent is a good choice, every day of the week.
And there’s no point in telling me you’re too time stretched to read it, or that it’s too much trouble to leave the house five minutes earlier for your lecture. Even my union sells The Independent and The Times; if mine does, then yours definitely will.
I know how busy you all must be digesting lots of important pieces of useless information – not even suitable for a pub quiz – surrounding the poetic sublime while you plot to take over 2014 politics upon graduation – ahem – but what’s a dose of current affairs really going to hurt? It probably won’t, as it goes. It might even be good for you! And it’ll hurt your eyes less than squinting at your laptop, adding another millimetre to that double chin we’re all going to have by thirty.
Contrary to popular belief, journalism is not limited to those interested in phone hacking, or Daily Mail showbiz. Nor is it confined to Comment Is Free; I realise that this beacon of hope is defining to some, but, in breaking news, there are other writers available. I know, it’s terribly alarming.
When I was a nipper, I used to sit on my father’s knee reading The Funday Times. There is photographic evidence somewhere. Whether your love affair began then or is about to begin, pick up a newspaper tomorrow morning. You never know, you might learn something.