Saturday, June 19, 2021

Post 4025 - Saturday Night Shtuff

Hello again, my hearties.

I haven't done much the last two days. I went to the store on Saturday afternoon to get the paper. It is a civilized thing to do, to read a weekend paper, and I am making a habit of it. 

The paper used to be a major read. I remember my friend's uncle in Port Williams. Lived down the road from me. He worked on a farm, and lived with his sister in the farm's tenement property. A house owned by the farm that someone whom they liked and trusted enough could live there. Anyway, when I visited Reg after lunch on Saturday, because he was there to visit his grandmother and uncle and aunt, Basil would be there reading the Saturday paper before returning to work. I'll never forget him reading away and just becoming immersed in the Saturday paper. It inspired me.

In university, I would often buy the paper and read it between classes. It made me feel erudite to be seen with the newspaper, although in retrospect, it likely made me look like more of a nerd than I would like. I also subscribed to Newsweek magazine for a time, and Time and MacLean's over the years, too. But I digress.

I kept reading the paper and subscribed to it many times over the years after university and during my working years. Like I stated above, it was a civilized thing to do. I even subscribed to both daily Halifax papers for some time. The Daily News in its prime covered crime like nobody's business, while the Chronicle Herald was more staid and stodgy not only its reportage, but in the writing of its articles. Even the letters to the editor were always edited to include the 'Dear Sir" salutation until 15 years or so ago. Old habits died hard.

When the Daily News went away in 2008, it was a shadow of its former self. It had long since fired most of its reporters and relied increasingly on wire service content, plus a slew of columnists who were likely just paid a fee to produce their columns, thereby saving the paper money in salaries. The columnists prattled on about whatever. If the topic was something that interested me, I would read it; otherwise, I would not and not be any poorer for it. 

After the DN folded, the Chronicle Herald had no competitor to speak of, so it quickly cancelled the Sunday paper. The Mail-Star, the afternoon paper, had gone away some time before that. It just wasn't there any more.

Say, do you know why it's called the Chronicle Herald, and why the afternoon paper, The Mail-Star? It is because the papers were once separate entities. The Morning Chronicle and the Halifax Herald were competing morning papers. The Daily Star and the Evening Mail were published later on that day. In 1949, the papers merged to form the Chronicle Herald and the Mail-Star. The Mail-Star mostly repeated the content from the morning papers in its latter years, but made an effort to update the stories from the morning paper in its early years. Updated articles. Different pictures. But seldom content that wasn't in the morning paper in some form. In its final years, the Mail-Star was published on Saturday at nearly the same moment the morning paper was. You would see them both by 10 or so in the morning on Saturdays. 

When I go to the archives, I look at both sets of papers when I am researching a cold case. Updated articles. Different pictures. Worth the effort. 

And if a fella had the time, he could do worse than to look at all the crime articles in the Daily News from, say, 1983 through to 1992 or so, when the paper was sold to Southam from Harry Steele, I think it was. That is when the paper began its slow decline, in my opinion. Those many articles could be downloaded to one's hard drive and form a pretty good view of crime in this city during that period of time.

But back to my Saturdays. I can read the weekend paper in maybe 15 minutes. The sections are short and have too much wired copy in them. The local content is less and less, with fewer articles of interest. But I feel I should make an effort to support the paper, at least on weekends. Without a daily paper in this city, we would be poorer for it. It is a different experience to read a paper on a computer or a tablet. There is no substitute for reading an actual newspaper over one's coffee and brunch. I hope I can get to do it for many years to come. 

Hope does spring eternal. 

Hmm. What does naivete spring, anyway?

See you tomorrow.


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