(My wife and I have been having a ‘fight’ for at least the last six months over whether we should cancel our subscriptions to the paper editions of the Washington Post and the New York Times.
Said wife claims that it is a waste of money since she never reads the print editions (true) and she doesn’t think I do either (partially true).
Crunch time has come as the Times wants to charge us $815.78 to renew our subscription and said wife refuses to pay the bill (she is in charge of the monthly bills). Either I am to pay this bill, or our subscription will lapse.
Thus for the last few weeks, I have been opening, scanning, and occasionally reading a few articles I missed from reading the previous night’s on line editions of these papers.
And so, had I not opened today’s print edition, I would not have seen the following:)
Anchor Baby: A Term Redefined As a Slur
In this article, reporter Julia Preston describes something that seems to me a win for everyone and a reminder that one person can make a difference.
The term anchor baby was recently added to the American Heritage Dictionary in their latest edition along with 10,000 other new words/terms.
It was defined as: “A child born to a non citizen mother in a country that grants automatic citizenship to children born on its soil, especially such a child born to parents seeking to secure eventual citizenship for themselves and often other members of their family.”
The executive editor of the dictionary, Steve Kleinedler, recently read that definition during a radio interview. And when Mary Giovagnoli, director of the Immigration Policy Center, learned of it, she was upset and wrote on a Friday morning on her Center’s blog that this dictionary definition “masks the poisonous and derogatory nature of the term, a term which demeans both parent and child.”
Apparently Giovagnoli’s blog got wide circulation over the Internet.
By that afternoon, according to the NY Times reporter, Kleinedler had called Giovagnoli, and with his editors “huddled over the weekend, and on Monday a new definition of anchor baby was posted on the dictionary’s Web site.”
It started with “offensive,” in italics and went on to define the term: “Used as a disparaging term for a child born to a non citizen mother in a country that grants automatic citizenship to child born on its’ soil, especially when the child’s birthplace is thought to have been chosen in order to improve the mother’s or other relatives’ chances of securing eventual citizenship.”
It seems to me everyone ‘won’ here:
*Mary Giovagnoli for drawing attention to the slur;
*Steve Kleinedler for his and his editors’ willingness and decision to rectify an error (he is reported to have said (anchor baby) “is now treated similarly to how the dictionary treats a wide range of slurs);
*the parents who conceived their children without doing so in order to gain citizenship; and mostly
*the innocent children who had no role in why they were conceived (as well as those who will be born to non citizens in the future).
Plus, it’s an example (perhaps not an earth shattering one, but still an encouraging one) that an individual(s) can still right a wrong in this country.
(Now, shouldn’t the Millers continue to get the paper edition of the newspapers?)
Sally Deneen said:
Yes, buy the print editions to support the livelihoods of reporters and photographers who do the heavy lifting of making sense of the world for readers and also for TV and radio reporters who turn around and write their own stories based on The New York Times and Washington Post articles.
Web ads pay pennies on the dollar compared to print advertisements, so they cannot support a vibrant news operation. That’s why staffs are shrinking and layoffs are rampant.
See map of the nearly 4,000 layoffs this year here:
That’s on top of nearly 3,000 last year:
Nearly 15,000 were laid off in 2009:
Last I knew, for every $1 in ad money that a print newspaper receives, a web ad for the news web site pays 10 cents. That’s a 90 percent reduction in money available to pay for staff.
“Be the change you wish to see in the world,” Gandhi said. If you want a vibrant press, please buy the print product.
Sally Deneen said:
P.S. My husband and more than 100 of his colleagues lost jobs when the print edition of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer stopped publishing on St. Patrick’s Day in 2009. It now is an online-only operation with about a dozen journalists. He went on to start a nonprofit news operation, InvestigateWest (invw.org). But too many colleagues have seen their journalism careers end forever.
David Beard said:
I’d buy the paper, too, for several reasons (although working at one, you are free to consider me biased).
The first reason, serendipity. I work on websites, but the print paper allows a different thought process for articles next to each other. You can “stumble upon” things online, but the paper manages to fill out issues you do not get to, as you joyfully noted in your post.
The second, Sally’s argument, at least for now, although many people are working to broaden digital revenues.
The third is, I grant you, emotional. Traditional. The tactile feel, the joy of discovery.
Ben Shute said:
Sorry, Ellen, but I’m on the side of the paper edition. There is an advantage to the serendipity of browsing through the paper that is qualitatively different from “browsing” the web or even a single site.
Much as I love my iPad, it’s not the same
Todd Endo said:
My wife, Paula, and I maintain a subscription to the Washington Post and I read both the NYT and Post (plus others) online. I also read the print edition of the Post. I read the online versions for efficiency and the print editions for the feel (tactile), comfort (lying down, in the bathroom, in an easy chair), and the scanning of a page for related articles (especially the sports and arts sections). When I had to be at work at 8am, I remember scanning the sports section in five minutes and being able to discuss intelligently, with good recall, game summaries in various sports, rankings, and leaders’ statistics at the office. I still need to read longer briefs and reports in print.
Other comments offer a new (to me) argument for subscribing: more about solidarity with the workers in the print media. Similar to buying fair traded goods that cost more. So, while I wouldn’t pay nearly a thousand dollars for a subscription to the NYT (is it really that much?), go for it in response to the previous comments.
PS, I got started on online reading of newspapers after a conversation with you nearly a decade ago or so ago.
I too buy the print edition. I agree with the above statements…in brief
1. it keeps jobs 2. the tactile sense of holding the paper gives pleasure
3. it’s easier to read 4. I do the crossword puzzle with a pen 3. I’m old fashion….
I say, keep the print subscription and supplement with the on-line one…
I do not have a logical reason for my opinion, however, I would drop the New york Times and keep the Post.
Yes, that was an interesting and important article oh “anchor babies”.
I often regret the lack of time to read or watch all the interesting information
that is available to us. But I can’t see it all.
In a way it was much easier when I was a kid, and there were not so many choices to make.
Like books, I still like the feelof a real paper. I’d keep at least one
Nancy Cedar Wilson said:
It looks as if Ellen will be outvoted by all your, ironically, website fans! I, too, cannot give up the pleasure of sitting with a cup of coffee and the real sensation of holding the news in my hand! Some days I don’t get to peruse the whole deal, but when I can–and sometimes that’s a day or so later–I find the MOST interesting articles–as in your ‘anchor baby’ definition-changing one.
I also feel nostalgia for the whole publishing business and sorrow for the loss of the good old-fashioned career of the newspaper reporter (which we probably romanticize now)
I hate to see us become complete online news addicts–it isn’t good for the discerning mind to just depend on short sound-bites and sensational exposes– we also lose critical thinking skills, like the ability to appreciate good writing and even good judgment–thereby we see the rise of the slogan-driven Tea Party types!
Sorry, I could go on–and on—HELP!
Print editions will continue to be delivered to the Miller household.
Ellen was either ‘won over’ or ‘gave up’ when I cut out two articles from Sunday’s Post and Times that she would not have seen otherwise.
Thanx to all who weighed in.
Sally Deneen said:
Thanks for the update!