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.

Voicing a Frustration

Okay, University of Oregon.  Now that I am well adjusted to the school routine for this year, it’s time to write a blog post.  To you.

Please revamp the student football ticket distribution system.

Is it too much to ask to divide the distribution up by class, like you did last year?  This season, we all log on at once, each of us dutifully sitting at the computer once 6 pm rolls around.  All 16,000 or so of us.  Last year was much simpler: freshmen at 10, sophomores at noon, and so on…

Now, some of us who actually appreciate football and understand the importance of this game will be left at home.  Many who have no idea what “quarterback” even means will be sitting in the bleachers.  This is not to say that every student who did get a ticket cares nothing about football: quite the opposite.  But many of us who really do care have been to far fewer games this year than we did last year.  Something’s up.

I don’t want to sound extremely bitter.  I’m not too bitter.  Just frustrated: who thought having the entire student body log on to get tickets at the same time would be a good idea?  Who thought the server could handle that?  Who thought the seniors would be happy about losing their final opportunity to see a huge Pac-10 rival?

Life isn’t fair, and I understand that.  But, I wish you would consider changing the system: even people who did manage to get tickets still think something needs to happen.

I’m not here to offer you grand solutions to your problem (my mom suggested tying the opportunity to receive tickets to your GPA).  But, I am here to let you know that a lot of students are upset.  I’m one of them.

We’ll still be cheering for the Ducks this Saturday.  We’ll still stand outside on Saturday morning and wait to see Lee Corso don the Duck head.  But we won’t be happy about it.  We won’t be feeling appreciated as fans.  We won’t be eager to try and get tickets the next time; if the server has stopped working the last two times, why am I to believe its even worth it to try again?  If the University doesn’t want dedicated fans in the stands, why should I be a fan?

That’s all I have to say.  It’s not much, but maybe it will get the UO thinking: how do we put the most dedicated fans in the stands?  I’m probably not going to be fan of the year, but I’ll always tell stories about I got to see the Ducks crush the Trojans on Halloween.  I’ll be grateful to have been a Duck.

Frustrations aside, I’m still pretty excited about the fact that ESPN’s College GameDay is going to be at Autzen on Saturday.  I’ll be the one waving the sign that says something to the effect of “Change the Ticket System.”  Hopefully I’ll come up with something cleverer than that before Saturday.

The plan now is to camp out on Friday night in order ensure a semi-decent spot to view GameDay (ESPN will let me watch quality entertainment without the hassle of an online ticket distributor), but I’m sure I’ll wimp out later this week.  If all goes as planned, I’ll be seeing a scene similar to this one on Saturday:

May we be as loud about changing our ticket distribution policy as we are about winning a football game.