Breakfast and an iPad

Today marks the end of an era for the Landsem household: My parents ended our subscription to The Oregonian.

For as long as I can remember, The Oregonian has been part of my life. In middle and high school, I’d read the sports or living sections while eating breakfast (Fridays were reserved for the A&E). I loved reading the comics in color on Sundays, too. A self-proclaimed hoarder, I have copies stuffed in my closet commemorating the deaths of Michael Jackson and Ted Kennedy, and countless sports sections recounting the Oregon Ducks’ recent football success.

Our final Oregonian.

I’m a journalism major in the “print v. web/newspapers dying/internet paywall” age; that print papers are on the decline is not news to me. But for some reason, that discussion never really hit home until last night, when my parents announced that today’s paper would be our last home-delivered Oregonian.

While much of my parents’ decision to cancel their subscription is based on the availability of other options – my dad can read a print copy of The Wall Street Journal at work, they both have iPads and both read a lot online as it is – another factor was the poor delivery service. I haven’t been home to witness it, but my dad’s been frustrated for a few months since our delivery is often missed.

I’m sure the Oregonian has bigger worries, but when it’s so easy for consumers to get their news elsewhere, you’d think they’d bend over backwards to serve loyal customers (my parents have subscribed since they married in 1986; and really, since 1982, when my dad split a subscription with his roommates at OSU). After a few days of no paper, and no apparent effort on the part of the paper to remedy the situation, my parents decided it was time to cancel.

My parents are not customer service snobs; they’ve considered unsubscribing a few times in the past, but never had as many reasons to as they do now. One factor in their decision was as simple as clearing the clutter that accumulates with a daily paper. They still plan to buy the Sunday edition from Starbucks or 7-Eleven, to take advantage of the expanded feature sections and coupons.

I completely understand what they’re doing. Since I’m not home 90% of the time, it doesn’t even affect me. But metaphorically speaking, a stage of my life ended with the end of the Oregonian subscription. The Landsems are no longer one of the households keeping print media alive. My eight-year-old sister will never run outside, pajama-clad, and grab the paper to read over breakfast. To archive major world events, I won’t save a front page in my closet drawer; I’ll take a screenshot or clip to Evernote.

It is sad, but more for what it represents in journalism than for what it means to my family. I’m not losing any sleep over it – I’m waking up with breakfast and The New York Times on my iPad.

Saturday is for Hash Browns and Newspapers

Food lends itself well to fabulous photographs. If I was fabulous, this post would include a full photo montage of the terrific breakfasts I’ve been eating for the past three Saturdays. Alas, I am not fabulous. I do not own a camera besides my iPhone. But that won’t stop me from blogging about my new favorite thing: Saturday breakfasts.

For the past few weeks, my friends and I have started our Saturdays at a diner on the corner of 53rd & 1st. I don’t know that much about diners, but it seems like the quintessential New York breakfast joint: buzzing with the low hum of conversation as waiters shuttle gigantic plates of French toast and scrambled eggs and cups of coffee are shuttled from table to table.

French toast and coffee. Taken with Instagram to make me look cooler than I really am.

There are always a few people sitting alone, eating their breakfast and reading the paper. These people are my favorite. They are the picture of contentedness. Because, really, what better way is there to start the day than with hash browns and a newspaper? I have yet to read while eating, but I always pick up a copy of the Daily News on the way out and read it when I get home.

One of my friends at school always says, “The secret to happiness is a leisurely breakfast.” (That might not be the direct quote, but you get the idea.) These Saturday breakfasts are proof that she’s right. Just an hour at the diner with friends, food, coffee and people-watching. Can’t be beat.

In unrelated news, now I’m off to the gym.