In my house, we do our part to support local journalism and still have the paper delivered. I don’t know, to me, the obituaries feel better in print.
Last Sunday, the stories in our Times Union seemed — oddly familiar. Hmmmm… the State Museum is returning more Indian remains. They must really have a lot of them! Home schooling? It’s still surging. Oh, and here’s Chris Churchill with yet another column about gas stoves; jeez, didn’t he just write about this? And, wait, what? Rensselaer County executive Steve McLaughlin is going on trial. Really — again? This guy can’t get a break!
Something wasn’t quite right here, so I checked the date on the paper: Sunday, January 22, 2023. Holy shit — have I become unstuck in time! No, it turns out that this was not a disconnect in the universe, just some sort of strange screw up that ended with me getting the prior week’s newspaper.
It seems that the features, comics and ads, all printed days earlier, were correct, but the news section was entirely from a week before. And how the hell does that happen? I have my theories:
- At the newspaper factory, somebody loaded the file incorrectly and printed the wrong edition;
- There was a stack of last weeks papers kicking around and they got mixed up with the new ones;
- Our carrier had some old copies sitting around and didn’t check the date.
We may never know; the Times Union didn’t reply to my snarky tweet asking what happened. The guy I called on the circulation hotline was puzzled, but had no info. He gave us a credit on our account for the paper.
My old boss used to say something like, “Newspapers are the only business in the world that relies on 11-year-old boys on bicycles as its distribution system.” No kids on bicycles anymore, but getting newspapers out — even as circulation numbers fall — remains a complicated affair. It’s a fresh product going to many different places every morning, right down to the customer’s driveway.
Not complaining. I sincerely like getting a paper and I’d be really disappointed if they stopped printing and delivering them. Details like bringing me the right one? That’s secondary.