A few weeks ago I got me a few of the “weekly” papers in Chicago and noticed a couple of changes:
1) The New City has become a biweekly. They seemed able to hold out against the winds of the new economy for a long time (although I believe they had once been rectangular and now are square), this seems like a last line of defense against the inevitable.
2) I found three weeks of Onions in an Onion box. The two non-current Onion papers were neatly folded up, as if someone might want them later on.
And since then I haven’t particularly cared about getting the Chicago freebie papers. I still get them whenever I can, but “whenever I can” has been redefined to me having to have enough free time to justify it – I’m not going to go out of my way to pick up consistently thinner papers, especially when it appears that other people seem to no longer care about them either.
I’m pretty sure that The Reader will still find a space – even as an upscale weekly version of the doomed Red Storm, and the Chicago Weekly/New City will keep on finding interesting things to write about as it winds its way down to disappearing from Chicago streets. But the Onion…it seems that people no longer want to deal with a paper that has grown so thin as to be almost nonexistent.
It’s not like the early seventies, when Readers could afford to be four pages and would be devoured so quickly that you had to skip work to get your copy. We remember what we had before, so when things get too thin we’re likely to turn our backs.
And so where I’m at at the moment. If I can get some newspapers from Chicago, I will…I’m just not going to work at it so much anymore. It’s not worth the effort anymore.