However, this globe may stop spinning soon if the Hearst newspaper chain can't find a buyer in the next 60 days. If that were to happen, the Seattle PI might be found only on the Internet.
For those who are not familiar with this publication, Seattle PI is one of the two major dailies in Seattle, the other being the Seattle Times. In fact, when I was there, Seattle PI's editorial staff went on strike when the paper started losing money. There were a lot of rumours and speculation over the past few years about the paper's future. Still, the staff kept hoping for the best.
After the New Year break, Seattle PI's employees found out, at about the same time as their readers, that Hearst was putting the paper up for sale. Sadly, there aren't many potential buyers left as the United States suffers an economic recession.
I was devastated, both as a reader and as a person in a profession that seems to be slowly dying. I enjoy poring over the papers as much as I enjoy writing for them. So it was particularly sad for me to learn that a paper I identify with may have to write its final chapter.
The news was upsetting, if not surprising. Yet another one bites the dust as many newspapers are reportedly facing dire financial straits. Earlier, the Christian Science Monitor, with more than 100 years of quality journalism, went online. The Gannett Company, one of America's largest newspaper publishers, plans to force thousands of its employees to take a week off without pay in an effort to avoid lay-offs.
Seattle PI's Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist David Horsey recently depicted Thomas Jefferson reading a newspaper with the headline: "PI for Sale". The background has his famous statement: "Were it left for me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers, or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter."
But then, the cartoon shows Jefferson saying to himself: "But Americans seem to be getting the former."
Of course, even without the print media, the freedom of expression can be shown in other forms. But the sort of journalism we are familiar with is changing. The Internet may be fast emerging as a news source, but its credibility is questionable, as reports can be posted by anybody. Plus, some write primarily to express their political leanings.
In the end, there may be no competition among Seattle dailies because there's only one, or maybe even none left.
I am still trying to understand why readers have lost their love for print media, which have generally been regarded as the source of updated information for years. I, like many in my generation, have the habit of carrying books or newspapers wherever I go.
On a personal note, my love affair with newspapers was instilled when I was young. My father, a former journalist, spent hours reading them in the morning as I sat nearby, fascinated with that tiny print, the smell and the texture of the paper.
In fact, an American friend of mine cut his teeth delivering newspapers as a boy in Chicago and he still fondly remembers how he had to at times dig them out of the snow in front of the houses. Imagine a world without print media or the habits and activities that come with it.
Readership has been dropping as many are opting for the Internet. And, with the latest technology letting you access the Internet anywhere, it has only accelerated demise of the print media.I was upset with I had to end my subscription to Premiere magazine in 2007, after this US movie periodical stopped printing and went online.
I must confess I have never visited the mag's website because the joy of reading Hollywood gossip online does not compare with the magic of flipping through glossy pages.
A recent article in The New Yorker attributed the print media's downfall to its failure to adapt to the changing world. The papers were compared to railroads at the start of the 20th century.
"Had the bosses realised that they were in the transportation business, rather than the railroad business, they would have moved into trucking and air transport, rather than letting other companies dominate.
"By extension, many argue that if newspapers had understood that they were in the information business, rather than the print business, they would have adapted more quickly and more successfully to the Net," according to The New Yorker.
Unfortunately, as the Borg used to say in "Star Trek", "Resistance is futile."