I start each morning with my two local daily newspapers. I couldn't eat breakfast without Chronicle columnist Jon Carroll. In the evenings and weekends I read weeklies that come in the mail - the Washington Post National Weekly Edition, the Economist and the New Yorker - although I often set them aside for a few hours, or a few days. I assume this is what people do with the Danville Weekly - glance at it quickly, then perhaps put it aside for a more convenient time or stuff it into their tote bag to read at a soccer game.
We're told more and more people go online for their news, and indeed there's nothing like the Internet for breaking stories. People at work don't take breaks in a coffee room anymore; they stay at their computers and check out Web sites. News hasn't changed but, more and more, its method of delivery is going online. My most dependable e-mail buddy is the New York Times, which sends me its headlines every morning, rain or shine.
Now the Danville Weekly is going to e-mail people headlines with our Express online edition. Once a week, Express will appear in the in-box of anyone who requests it. Express is a quick-read summation of the top four most recent news stories, plus some Danville area events that people might want to check out. A click on the item will take readers to www.DanvilleWeekly.com to read the story in its entirety. The Web site contains all the Weekly stories from every edition, plus a Town Square forum for readers to make comments, read movie reviews and much more. The Web site is also the place to add a Calendar item to run online and to be picked up for our print edition.
Our Express readers also have the opportunity to register for news alerts. I love this part because I find it frustrating when there is breaking news in the Danville area and it has to wait, sometimes longer than a week, to get into our newspaper. When that Friday night earthquake struck recently, I checked the USGS Web site for the stats, called Alamo Safeway to learn about damage, wrote the story and put it onto the Web site within 20 minutes. But did anyone know it was there? Now I can send out an alert.
We haven't turned into the paperless society that was predicted in the 1960s. On the contrary, as last week's Economist noted, when computer use skyrocketed so did the use of paper. Global usage more than doubled in offices during the last two decades of the 20th century as printing became cheaper and easier, although e-mail did change the amount of paper used for correspondence.
But in 2001, paper usage finally began to decline in the U.S. Younger employees are more comfortable working totally on screen, and technology has advanced enough that storage is dependable. People now go online to pay bills, find a recipe, print out IRS forms and airline tickets, plus to look up everything from the spelling of a word to the history of paper. Words, photos and spreadsheets can easily be shared online, with the co-worker across the room or a colleague across the globe. And people increasingly are getting their news online.
We still love to produce our Danville Weekly print edition. There's something about holding an actual printed newspaper that I love. The feel of the newsprint. The ability to mark it up or tear out something to save or read more thoroughly later. Or put a sticky on a story and leave it for my husband. I sure hope newspapers are printed forever - or at least for the duration of my lifetime.
When you are running for vice president and someone asks you how you receive your news, I hope you respond, "From the Danville Weekly." And I hope you would soon add, "And Express."
-Dolores Fox Ciardelli can be e-mailed at editor@DanvilleWeekly.com.