Doug Lerner reports from Tokyo and St. Louis, and points beyond…

Posts tagged ‘media’

Using Internet harms memory

There was an article somewhere today on how using the Internet adversely affects your memory because you can easily look things up instead of trying to remember information. Or something like that. I can’t remember where I saw it, but you can Google for it.


Is it time to unsubscribe from my daily newspaper?

Is it finally time to end my print newspaper subscription?

This is a problem that has been bothering me more and more over the past few months. The answer seems simple, but I have been a print subscriber for, well, decades now. So I have an emotional attachment to my daily newspaper delivery.

For many years it was the Japan Times. Then, oh, maybe 10 or 12 years ago I realized the Daily Yomiuri was a better bargain. The monthly cost was not only substantially less, I think it is a better paper, with weekly sections from The Independent, Washington Post and L.A. Times.

Anyway, for over a quarter century now I’ve been getting a daily English newspaper delivered to my door in the pre-dawn hours.

But… is it time for this too to pass? Is the age of printed newspapers over for me?

From any practical point of view there is no need to subscribe to the paper. The exact same articles – in fact even more information and photos in color – can be seen online – on my computer or when comfortably lounging around on my iPad by just visiting Everything’s there – the same articles, the columns, the weather reports, the exchange rates. And it’s all free.

Just a month or so ago, the printed subscription rate went up to about 2,900 yen/month. In dollars, that’s about $36/month or $432/year. We’re talking almost the cost of the iPad itself, just to see the same news I can see on the iPad for free.
Plus there are other nice news aggregators for the iPad (my favorite is Zite) which include articles from all the Japanese English newspapers. Also for free.

So for practical reasons, I think it’s time to pick up the phone and bid farewell to the daily print delivery.

Yet… I keep hesitating. It feels sad in a way to see it go.

And one has to consider – who is paying for all the news to be collected and published? The daily print subscriptions are falling all over the world. In fact, my newspaper delivery guy has been including the Japanese Yomiuri Shinbun for free every day – just so they can keep their subscriber numbers up. If everybody unsubscribes, are the online ads going to pay for production of news?

The New York Times now allows just 20 article reads a month before you have to subscribe. (Though that is trivially easy to get around because they allow people to come in from outside links, so all you have to do is copy an article link, go to another site, paste the URL into your browser and you are in – referred from elsewhere.) I wonder if their latest attempt to charge for digital subscriptions will succeed.

I would pay for the New York Times if it were a reasonable cost. But they charge on par with print subscriptions, and I think there should be substantial savings with electronic delivery. As I do with eBooks.

I’ll probably call and cancel the Daily Yomiuri before the end of the month. I’ll still read the paper every day though. Yet I feel a sense of sadness about this inevitability.

The question then is… what will I use to line the bottom of Hao and Mon’s bird cage?


Fox News really is off in its own little world, isn’t it?

Headlines at major news sites just now:

NY Times – In Joplin, Obama Offers Healing Words to Residents
Yahoo News – Obama tours twister-ravaged neighborhood in Joplin
Google News – Obama Tours Joplin, Promises Sustained Federal Help
USA Today – Obama tours Joplin devastation
ABC News – Obama Tours Tornado-Torn Joplin
CBS News – Obama tours tornado-ravaged Joplin

Fox News (big banner headline) – McCain: Palin Could Defeat Obama


New York Daily News front page for the end of the world


doug@Tokyo is still here

What is the value of news?

What is the value of news?

I like reading the NY Times site. And would even pay the “trial period” $1/week to subscribe. But after 4 weeks the rate goes up to to $35/month if you want to be able to read the articles on your computer, iPhone and iPad.

So I’ve been finding myself reading other news sites more.

Plus there is relatively easy access to any article even if you aren’t a subscriber. The NY Times only counts its 20 free reads/month if you click directly from their site. If you are referred from elsewhere, such as a news aggregator, it’s free.

For example, you can simply post the link to the article you want to read in a blog or elsewhere and click that link and you can read whatever you want – because you are referred from elsewhere.

It makes me feel like the $35/month isn’t worth it, especially with so many news aggregators (e.g. Zite, which is really great) giving you free access to the New York Times articles, and so many alternative news sources for free.

On the other hand, I don’t want the New York Times to disappear. It’s a valuable “newspaper of record” and their articles have more details than skimpy ones in, say, USA Today. I wish they could find a way to make it work with ads, but I guess with such huge overheads it’s difficult.

It’s hard to say these days what the “value” of news really is.

I have been thinking of unsubscribing from my local newspaper here in Tokyo, because I can read the same articles on my iPad.


The emperor’s name

I’ve heard about 5 pronunciations of the Emperor’s name today in foreign media. His name is actually Akihito, but it’s not used in Japan. Here he is just referred to as “the emperor.” But on different foreign media reports I’ve heard Akihiro, Ahito, Akahito, Ato and I think someone even said Arigato by mistake.


Tokyo Power press conference on NHK

Afterwards one NHK anchor turned to the other and asked, “Did he give us any new information?”


Special edition on earthquake, reactor

It’s a bit of an antique feeling, but this special edition of the newspaper was just delivered to my door. The top headline says that several tens of thousands of people’s safety still cannot be confirmed. The large headline on the right says the earthquake was actually magnitude 9.0. The center headline says that the #3 nuclear reactor’s pumping system has also failed. doug


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