News Junkie Smackdown
Tim Egan: Is it not a surprise that no Web sites have advanced anything on where this very crucial piece of health care legislation stands? We all know it's a big deal, a defining moment, etc. But I'd like to get some facts on the deal-making, sausage-cutting etc. So give USA Today its due for getting as much out of Pelosi as it could.
Michael Kinsley: Didn't Politico have a Pelosi interview yesterday? Or even two days ago? Was USAT's better? I suspect that Pelosi controls the spigot and each one gets exactly as much info as she wants.
Seth Stevenson: I think with Politico around, and others like it, we Webbies are not lacking for fact-digging, interviews with politicians, and other on-the-scene, old-school coverage. (Though the inkies could fairly point out that Politico's honchos got their training at a newspaper, not a Web site.)
Meanwhile: Sam mentioned yesterday that he prefers the newsprint experience to reading the Times on some electronic platform. I'm just the opposite. I hate reading the physical paper. First of all, by the time it shows up on the doorstep in the morning it's useless: I've already seen all the stories on the Times' Web site the evening before. Also, if there's a story I think a friend might be interested in, I can forward a link from the Web site. But I'm not going to X-acto-knife out a clipping and send it through the U.S. mail. Likewise, if there's an item relevant to a topic I'm researching, it's much easier to save it on my hard drive than to stuff it into a bulging manila folder.
Another reason it's more fun to read on the Web: the comments sections on Web sites. I find that comments from readers can sometimes be as enlightening as the original article. With the print edition of a newspaper, you wait a few days until they maybe print a letter to the editor in response to the story—and that letter will be chosen specifically for its anodyne qualities.
Finally, I'm sick of watching the print editions of newspapers stack up in the corner of my living room, until I'm forced to haul them down to my apartment building's recycling bin. Unnecessary physical labor! And a waste of materials! As far as I'm concerned, the sole reason to get the print edition of the Times is to do the crossword puzzle in ink. That is a true pleasure, and one I absolutely miss. But it doesn't outweigh all the other deficiencies of ink and paper.
Sam Howe Verhovek: Seth, how old are you? Just curious. Let's just say that I'm getting in range of thinking that maybe it's OK to trust people over 50, after all. I hear you on all your points, but I'd rather stick with newsprint, the easy chair, and a hot cup of coffee. If I find any article I really like, I just make a mental note of it and e-mail the text of the story as soon as I go to my desk. Oh, and links qua links are a pet peeve of mine. If I send someone a story, I fish out the text and e-mail that rather than the link. Call me old-fashioned, of course.
Seth: I'm 35—right on the fence between sympathizing with you and sympathizing with the kids who never read anything longer than a 140-character tweet.