Sunday, December 07, 2008

The Paper Dot Com

Problem: How do I say "I read it in the paper" when I actually read it online?

The whole range of terminology related to "in the paper" feels uncomfortable at best when referring to one's perusing of the online edition of the local news. Interestingly, the phraseology seems to always be taken to be in reference to the town or city paper of one's locality. If a person living in Texas reads something in the New York Times, the seemingly appropriate terminology for mentioning something read therein is a reference to the Times and not just "in the paper" because "in the paper" carries with it the assumption of being local.

With the internet, though, the problem is partly the universality of "the paper." For news junkies, the ability to view all the major papers quickly on one's computer is great. However, the local side of reading the paper is at risk, and the way one refers to any news read online is troubling. I do not wish to clarify every time I make reference in conversation of something "in the paper" that I actually read it online. "I read it online" carries little weight since a person can read practically anything online.

Proposal: "Paper dot com" as in "I read it in the paper dot com." "Paper dot com" then would mean that I read it on the local website of the local newspaper.

Of course, according to this article, not too many paper readers actually do read the paper online. Even with declining numbers of paper-paper readers, there is no great shift to electronic editions. So, it may all be a lost cause.

No comments: