If I spend all of the rest of 2013 in Newfoundland, the year will be 3.5 hours shorter than 2012. You might be wondering how that’s possible. It’s easy. If you spend New Year’s Eve in Cold Lake, Alberta and then spend the rest of the year in Newfoundland, technically, your year will be 3.5 hours shorter, seeing as midnight on December 31 in Newfoundland is only 8:30 PM in Cold Lake. There was a time when losing 3.5 hours wouldn’t mean a darn thing, but that was long before turning 62. No one over the age of 62 can afford to lose 3.5 hours anytime.
The truth is, by the time you read this, I’ll still be in Cold Lake, assuming you read this the same day the paper comes out. I won’t feel like I lost 3.5 hours until some point later in the year. I’d give you the rundown on the news up around these parts, but I doubt you’d care, unless I was reporting on some information relative to your relatives who are within a four hour drive of Cold Lake. There’s a good chance you have relatives in the area, and by relatives I mean children, seeing as there must be one-third of Alberta being run by Newfoundlanders. While those of you at home probably are not interested in what’s happening in the area here, it occurred to me after spending a month here in a daily news blackout of things happening in Newfoundland and Labrador that the Newfoundland crowd up here might be hungry for some news from back home.
In order to confirm this, I got to speaking with a number of expatriate Newfoundlanders and Labradorians in order to find out from them how they kept up with news from home. Most don’t. At least those that don’t have a smart phone. Apparently, smart phones let you enjoy face time with your relatives back home from whom you can garner the news if you so desire. Smart phone use seldom involves reading the newspaper from back home over the phone. Some people can tune into NTV, as it is broadcast here on a daily basis, but only those who work the night shift and then can be up and awake at 2:30 in the afternoon in order to catch the six o’clock broadcast of NTV news.
That’s when I got the idea to ask if anyone up here had an Internet subscription for their hometown newspaper back in Newfoundland. I was surprised to discover that none of the younger people up there making a boatload of money have bothered to maintain an electronic subscription to the nor’wester. It boggles my mind to wonder how many readers I have personally lost because they’ve moved to places like Alberta to work and no one at home has thought to give them the gift of an electronic newspaper from home. You know, it’s not too late to make a New Year’s resolution to provide your loved ones living away with an Internet subscription to the nor’wester so that they can keep abreast of the news at home, and maintain their collection of Clearly Stated columns.
Newsprint is rapidly going the way of the codfish. There’s almost a moratorium on newsprint. Community newspapers however, will never go out of vogue as long as there is news to report and interesting articles to read such as, for example, Clearly Stated columns. A lot of the folks that I spoke with here talk very lovingly about their homes back in Newfoundland, followed by laments that speak to their not being much else to go back home to, especially since their parents have started to follow them by moving up here themselves. Mailing an entire newspaper through the traditional route of snail mail just isn’t feasible anymore, whereas access to Internet connections are as commonplace as a Tim Horton’s at an intersection.
My very unscientific poll in determining those interested in maintaining a connection to the local news back home here has led me to the conclusion that supplying my children in Alberta and elsewhere with a web subscription of the local newspaper is the least that I can do to give them a little shot of home once in a while. Newsprint may be on the way out. News from home shouldn’t suffer the same fate. A week without a Clearly Stated column is like a week without sunshine. You know what THAT’S like.