My Favorite Newspaper

Newspapers are where I get most of my news. Most larger papers still have print editions, but I suspect that they will be in the minority by the time my kids are grown up. We’ll still call the digital equivalents “newspapers”, although they will not contain any actual paper.

In fifth grade, we learned how to read a newspaper. We were taught were the lead story—according to the paper’s editor—was located. We learned what it meant when a story was “above the fold.” Above the fold is another of those terms whose provenance will grow less clear as paper editions continue to fade.

I prefer small town papers to the big city papers. In small town papers, the news seems relevant to the everyday lives of the citizens in those towns. When we travel, I try to get my hands on the local paper in the town we are staying. Hotels are making this increasingly difficult. Most of the hotels I stay in—when they provide papers at all—provide USA Today.

I don’t live in a small town, however, and I never have. Living in a suburb outside Washington, D.C., my local paper is the Washington Post. It is not a bad paper, but it is heavy on the inside baseball of inside the Beltway politics, and I’ve grown tired of that.

I read the New York Times now and then, but I get the sense the paper takes itself way too seriously. Papers should report the news, but I feel like a little too much commentary slips into the news reports of the Times.

When I lived in L.A. I often read the Los Angeles Times. There was lots to like about the L.A. Times. It had good writers, and its local section was among the best local section for a major newspapers I’ve ever encountered. It had one of my all-time favorite columnists, Al Martinez. Until I read Al Martinez’s column, I didn’t realize what power a columnist had.

I recently started reading the L.A. Times again, as an alternative to the Post and the New York Times. It has quickly become my favorite newspaper. I don’t read the paper edition. But one thing the L.A. Times does that I wish other papers would do is make a fully readable digital version of the paper edition available online. It looks and feels like you are reading a newspaper, and as someone who has grown up reading actual newspapers, it feels comfortable.

There are several reasons I like the L.A. Times:

  1. It brings me a take on the news that isn’t the East Coast view of the world. I get plenty of the East Coast perspective by living here. It’s nice to have an another take.
  2. The writing is good, and the reporting is good as well.
  3. The sports coverage, and especially the baseball coverage, is a cut above what both the New York Times and the Washington Post provide.
  4. They do a better job at covering science and technology than the other papers I’ve read.
  5. It reminds me of the years that I lived in L.A., and that nostalgia feels good.

I don’t miss living in Los Angeles, but I missed the L.A. Times, and I’m glad I started reading it again.