Why I Read the New York Times

One of my mantras and often-deployed Twitter hashtag is #ForeverPrint; it hasn’t really caught on, but the vagaries of social media outreach optimization are thankfully beyond me and will remain so. All of which to say is that when I read, which is often, I want a tangible text in front of me. I’ve written before about the personal importance of the aesthetic effects of the printed word, but that’s not quite the point. 

It’s no secret — nor would I even try to make it one — that politically, I’m firmly on the left. I tend to vote for Democrats, because in our undemocratic political system, pragmatism trumps (no pun intended, this time) ideology. Of the viable candidates (of whom, yes, is a triple divorcée and quadruple bankruptee who boasts about sexual assault and has the intellectual curiosity of a week-old cantaloupe and now holds the nuclear codes… but I digress), I supported Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), and still proudly display a “Bernie 2016” sticker on the bumper of my battered Civic.

So now that we’ve gotten the ideological parts aside, the reason I read the Times is both tangible and ideological — though not, perhaps, in the way you might be thinking. The tangible part is easy — I love waking up around 05:00, starting my coffee brewing while waiting for the distinctive “thwack” of today’s Times hitting the cracked and often snow-dusted pathway of the driveway — that distinctively American staple attesting to home-ownership and a place in what’s left of the middle class. Or maybe, when I can’t afford it (which is often; the Times ain’t cheap), I read it at the college library, sifting through the Thursday Styles section with as much interest as the box elder bug making her/his daily sojourn across the wide window opening out unto an artificial brook dammed artificially. 

One might think that I read the Times because editorially, we’re on the same page (bad pun *not* explicitly intended); the truth, however, is far from it. I tend to skip over the editorial page, reading only krugman and kristof with any regularity, and anyone else depending on the topic at hand. Part of that is simple fatigue — there’s a lot of text between A1 and A30, or wherever the editorial page is located. Which brings me to my point; I don’t read The New York Times because I need editorial comforting close to my ideology; I read it because it’s one of the few newspapers left in the world with the resources and curiosity to investigate and report on stories that few news sources can. The Times also has the resources of a stable of journalists dying to see their byline in the “Grey Lady,” and — whatever it pays them — it’s not enough. I read The New York Times not because I’m a democratic socialist (I am), but because I want to learn about the politics in, say, Sierra Leone, religious sects in Laos, the human effects of drug trafficking in Bolivia. I’d love to have the time to read The Wall Street Journal, The Guardian, Le Monde, The Financial Times, the Süddeutsche Zeitung, but the Times, cover to cover (which is how I read it usually) takes 2 1/2-3h by itself. I go to it primarily because of the breadth and depth of its coverage, the quality of its journalists and the concomitant quality of its reportage on a consistent basis. 

~ by Benji on April 9, 2017.

2 Responses to “Why I Read the New York Times”

  1. Great post! You’ve done a great job putting into words how I also feel about the New York Times. #foreverprint (I need to start using that hashtag more.)

    Liked by 2 people

  2. That’s exactly why I like the NYT. You’ve put your finger on it. You can read the same news, and similar editorials in so many other newspapers (and on line) but this is what is special about the NYT. I hope it will remain so. #ForeverPrint is a good hashtag!


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