June 21, 2021

My Dad has never watched much TV except ACC basketball, especially when his beloved Demon Deacons were on.  But he’s always been a voracious reader of the newspaper, reading cover to cover every day.  Conversations at mealtime growing up largely were based on the latest news gleaned from those pages.

So when we found out a few weeks ago that the Raleigh News & Observer was halting home delivery of the newspaper in Rocky Mount it was like an ice-cold splash of water to the face.

Sure I knew this day was coming.  Change is happening daily in how people receive the news and other bits of information.

But when it hits your hometown – and touches someone of a generation who’s not connected through smartphones or computer – whose daily source of news has come from reading a newsprint version of a newspaper daily for decades – it’s eye-opening.  Not necessarily wrong – but thought-provoking.

It made us think about the political influence the N&O has had on eastern North Carolina for so many years and how for that older generation – is no more.  Or at least until it’s proven that those same people who read print versions of the paper will convert to the digital version.

Other thoughts flooded in.  Think about all the people who got the paper for other reasons.  No more pages with crossword puzzles, no Sunday paper coupons or grocery circular ads.  Or comic pages.  All parts of a touchable, tactile newspaper that were a big part of life for so many years.

But back to the political influence.  For years, the N&O served as a guidepost for conservatives in the Raleigh area and points east.  What you may say?  The N&O has typically stood for the liberal values conservatives abhor!

Exactly.  If the N&O was for it – the conservative reader knew to be against it.

And the N&O’s influence was powerful.  It extended in more recent years even into the TV world – as we often observed that the TV news reporters’ daily agenda was derived from what was written in the N&O that morning.  Those liberal editors wrote the playbook each and every day.

We can’t help but remember how in its heyday, the News & Observer editorial board was a great foil for politicians like conservative Senator Jesse Helms, and was classic entertainment for many as the reader would open the newspaper and chuckle at Dwayne Powell’s latest cartoon barb at ole’ Jess.

But those days are gone.  Today – you can read news online on various websites and get about any viewpoint you want.

Of course there’s so much information now that these days we have to glean, scratch and claw through a cherry-picked mishmash of websites, podcasts, blogs and other sources to find the truth about public policy issues, political candidates and the real news.

In some ways it was easier in days past to read the liberal point of view and know what you disagreed with than today when it’s hard to find any news source you believe you can trust.

Maybe that realization is why this blog goes a little long sometimes in trying to get more information in your hands.  Because we feel like we need to explain things a little deeper and more thorough than just retweeting the last thing we read on Twitter.

So here’s to seeking the truth.  And hoping I can explain what’s going on in the world to my Dad now that for him the N&O is no more.