Thursday, January 08, 2009

NY Times Meltdown at AALS

Wow! Anybody who has read the obituaries for print newspapers would have been as taken aback as I was to watch the hysteria at AALS this week. Law professors from across the country are having meltdowns when they cannot get their print New York Times here in San Diego! I happened to go down to the Marriott gift shop this morning and blundered into the anxious crowd waiting for the shop to open. There was a milling crowd of northeasterners with a mix of profs from across the country. A few were smugly confident -- after missing their fix the day before, they had already signed up to have their copy reserved for them. Others were watching their potential antagonists warily.

The lady showed up with a stack of papers on a hotel luggage cart. She opened the door and the crowed moved inside. A line formed up immediately. The shop keepers began unstacking the papers and nearly wept. They had requested extra copies of the New York Times. What they got instead was the L.A. paper, and just the copes of the New York paper that had been ordered for those who reserved it -- at least those had been delivered. A disgusted groan went up, and people fled the shop to try to find some other source. The smug ones who had reserved waited to collect their prizes. One clever woman spoke of trying to set up a system to hand along her copy after she finished. *(I suggested she speak to the Hein booth in the Exhibit Hall).

I was just amazed. I had no idea there was still such a population clinging to the print version. I have one senior faculty member I know of who still demands a print copy in the school. But a lot of these folks in the milling crowd were younger than I by decades. Obviously, the Gray Lady still has a firm hold on some readers, in quite a physical way! How amazing!


Meg said...

Fascinating, Betsy!

Before I got to my new job, I read the NYT almost exclusively online. I was surprised to see that we get a print copy delivered to our reference desk every morning. (I haven't seen any faculty come by for it yet, so I'm assuming any who are interested have individual subscriptions of some sort.)

What surprises me more than it being there is that when I have a morning desk shift, I will pick it up and peruse it, despite being set up in Bloglines with my favorite topics and columnists, and looking at NYT's site directly about once a day.

I'm pretty sure we got a print copy every day at NSU too, but since it wasn't at the desk directly within reach, I didn't bother with it.

Not sure what this says, except that this reader is all about instant gratification regardless of format!

Amy Wright said...

I confess that I am addicted to the print version of the Wall Street Journal and have been known to have similar meltdowns when I can't find a print copy while on vacation.

Marie S. Newman said...
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Marie S. Newman said...

Thanks for this vivid snapshot from the conference, Betsy. We have one faculty member who goes into meltdown mode when the NYT is missing from the Faculty Lounge. It would kill him to buy his own copy???