The plight of newspapers & its impact on the hobby…

April 20, 2009 by  
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rocky-mountain-newsIn recent years–and to a greater degree recent months–we’ve been hearing about the demise of the newspaper, at least that edition which has appeared on newsstands & doorsteps for many generations. Much blame goes to the internet and our increasingly digital society, although the proliferation of cable news, now available 24 hours a day, shares in the blame as well.

For us hobbyists, who have collected the “hard copy” while they are still rolling off the presses across America, what will the impact be if print editions die off completely?

seatle-post-intelligencerIf the past is any example I would suggest there will be heightened interest in collecting newspapers. Much of what is popular today in the collecting world are items which are now obsolete: phonograph records, old telephones, mustache cups, treadle sewing machines, and on and on.  While one school of thought is that interest is heightened once an item is no longer produced, another thought is that collecting interest will fade when they are no longer produced. How many thousands of items which have faded from memory & long ago ceased production are not on the “radar” of collectors?

Let hear of your thoughts. You are the collectors; your passion and holdings may well be impacted one way or the other if current newspapers cease publication. How do you think this could impact the hobby?

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3 Responses to “The plight of newspapers & its impact on the hobby…”

  1. Michael McNary on April 20th, 2009 4:42 pm

    I have collected some older copies and will continue to.My collection is rather small to some standards(150 copies or so).I do it for the historical interest.I believe at some point the paper newspaper will become a thing of the past,a sad thing..What I enjoy about the product you offer is that they don’t make them any more.There is a finite quantity-which is why I will continue to collect.

  2. Morris on April 21st, 2009 10:12 pm

    A few years ago I purchased a CD player. I packed all my tape cassettes in a box and showed one of my sons where I was putting the box. I said to him that one day he would open the box and he would discover all this great music from the 60’s and 70’s. My son said, “Yes dad, but there probably wont be anything for me to play them on.”

    And that is the story of technology. Things become outdated and disappear.

    But, I have never known history to be obsolete. Everyday that passes is a new page in history. Famous people, now dead, are quoted everyday. Students still learn of the Battle of Trafalgar and Waterloo. We still read of past presidents and compare them to presidents of our own era. The Revolutionary War is still studied, as is the Civil War.

    The only thing that can destroy history is the total destruction of our world. Mark Twain once said…”Buy land, they’re not making it anymore.” This concept also applies to newspapers.

    A newspaper ,with a first hand account of Custer’s Last Stand, or the Battle of Gettysburg, is something that can never again be duplicated. There can be only one “First.”

    Yes, some things, like my eight track tape player and my tapes, have been relegated to the trash heap of technology, but my first hand newspaper reports will always be cherished by those who desire the “Original Story,” untainted by revisionism and new wave thinking.

    Newspapers may become obsolete, but their stories will live on. Those of us who collect newspapers are the protectors of history. In our hands is placed the responsibility to preserve and pass on “The Story.”


  3. Vince Wheeler on April 22nd, 2009 11:01 pm


    There always will be “old” newspapers to collect and that will sustain the hobby. But the numbers of modern collectible newspapers will continue to decline as there are fewer large newspapers creating them and as more medium- to small-sized newspapers begin to focus more and more on coverage of their local areas and leave coverage of national and world events that would have produced collectibles to the Internet, CNN and Fox News.

    My 20,000 daily newspaper’s last truly hobby-type collectible front page probably was the shuttle Columbia disaster in 2003 or maybe the beginning of the Iraq war. We could have produced a collectible front with Obama’s election, but instead we couldn’t decide whether to emphasize that or give local elections priority. The result was a lackluster front page giving local elections and Obama about equal coverage on the front. It wasn’t much as far as “collectibles” are concerned although we had a darned good local newspaper that day.

    Morris is correct. There’s nothing like holding and reading the “original story” in print, and that will keep the hobby going. Maybe that’s also what keeps me going in the business after 33 years.

    To Morris, I’d like to say that I still have my eight-track tapes, and I also have two players (maybe three) that still work.

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