When the Deseret News and Salt Lake Tribune announced there would be no more hard copy, daily papers, it was like a dagger to my heart. My family has been involved in the newspaper business in one way or another since 1956 when my brother, Bill, started delivering papers for the Daily Herald. When Bill had to go to work helping Dad raise turkeys, he bequeathed his route to his younger sisters, Jane and Janice, who, in turn, paved the way for their two younger brothers, Jim and John, to deliver papers.
Every day for many years, I remember Bill, Jane, Janice, Jim and John hustle out of bed about 5 a.m. to deliver papers. On a cold, blustery winter morning, I was on my way to school and passed John dodging wind and snow gusts, his trusty Schwinn bike laden with two big bags of papers making his way to the paper boxes in lower Lehi. I have to admit; a lump gathered in my throat as I watched my 12- year-old brother labor under difficult circumstances to make sure everyone got their paper that morning.
In 1970, Russ Innes, owner and publisher of the Lehi Free Press, asked my Mom, Betty, to come to the Free Press office to fill in for Mrs. Margaret McMillan. McMillan had become ill and never returned to work. Mom “filled in” for her for 23 years. Mom was a passionate advocate for Lehi City and its citizens. She especially loved Lehi High School and the students who became part of her already big family.
In 2015, my sister, Sally Fowler Francom, moved backed to Lehi after a 17 -year hiatus in California and when she realized the Lehi Free Press was no more, she suggested, “We need to do another Free Press,” and we did.
With the end of Utah’s daily newspapers, one wonders if that might be the course for small, community weekly newspapers. The Deseret News claims that their online readers outpace the printed version subscribers by almost 500%. While I know that getting news on the internet is the most efficient and inexpensive way to get and disseminate information and news, there is something real and tangible when you can pick up a printed page and read the articles.
I worry that local stories might get lost with the new national focus. I love Dick Harmon and his take on the sports scene in Utah. I read Lois Collins’ articles because of her vast experience in human interest stories.
I look forward to the opinion pieces written by local politicians and concerned citizens. I can’t imagine finding all the unbiased facts on Facebook, Twitter, or a website-related search. I don’t love sitting in front of the computer, trying to find information.
Besides all these considerations, I will be lost each morning. I am used to sitting down to breakfast with my paper open, gathering in all the day’s news with my oatmeal or bacon and eggs. I know there are many others who find their daily newspaper an essential part of each day’s ritual. If this is the new normal, I don’t like it and wish for days like they used to be with a trip outside to get the paper and a quiet minute or two to relish the news of the day.