Wednesday, April 6, 2005

Hot off the Press...

Do free newspapers provide news to the masses... or just wasted paper?

This morning on my way to the skytrain, I was encountered by THREE different people asking if I wanted a free paper. Dose, Metro and 24 Hours. Why are so many free papers available in Vancouver all of a sudden, and what is the idea behind it?

Now I see papers all over the skytrain and busses from people who take them, as it is hard to say NO to free stuff, and then just toss them aside. They didn't pay for them, why do they care? Or do they think that they are being nice by leaving them for the next person to read? Who knows.

I've picked up one of these papers to read and found it to be mostly adverts and silly entertainment news. I guess the idea is to attract a new genre of readers? Or provide a cross between a People magazine and the Sun?

With the accessibility of the Internet, I've thought for a long time that newspapers are a bit wasteful. How many people do you know that read theirs cover to cover, all sections included? Pretty rare. And yet all that paper still gets wasted. At least when people pay for their papers and take them on their way to work, they are less likely to toss them when their stop comes up. I wonder if the companies paying the people to distribute the papers are also paying people to go pick up the mess they leave behind?


  1. I agree with you on useless advertisement/newspapers. That is a complete waste.

    But I myself read (real) newspapers all the time - sometimes two in a day (Globe&Mail, Vancouver Sun - sometimes the Province during hockey season). It's still the best way to stay informed.

    It's much easier to read paper than flickering pixels on a computer screen - and it gives you something to do while you eat lunch.

    So I say "Hooray for newspapers!"

  2. Maybe they should allow you to only buy the sections of the paper that you want... for instance, I never read the Sports section. Or some people only buy the classified ads when they're looking for new digs... I dunno. I don't think papers are so bad for people who actually read them (similarly, I'd never expect someone to read a book online) but if you're pretty selective, or don't care for Travel, Sports, etc. then there is a lot of waste.

  3. Ahem.

    "To a philosopher all news, as it is called, is gossip, and they who edit and read it are old women over their tea." Henry David Thoreau.

    I've been waiting for a chance to use that.

    Anyway, I no longer take things that are handed to me. I look them in the eye and say "non, merci" politely -- I suspect that free-hander-outers are pleasantly surprised to be acknowledged.