A Case for Newspapers

Henry Anderson, from Santa Clara, Calif., reads today's edition of Knight Ridder's San Jose Mercury News at a coffee shop in San Jose, Calif., on Friday, March 10, 2006. Knight Ridder is weighing bids of at least $4.7 billion, according to media reports, in an auction of its properties that also serves as a proxy on investors' outlook toward the newspaper industry. AP

Weekly commentary by CBS Evening News anchor and Face the Nation host Bob Schieffer.


With iPods and blogs and the Internet, there is a lot of serious talk about whether newspapers will survive. But the awful news of last week reminded me just how much we need them and not always for the obvious reasons.

Jill Abramson, who is the managing editor of The New York Times, says we use the Internet to search for specific information. But the joy of reading a newspaper comes from finding information we weren't looking for.

Last week reminded me of that. The main news was so grim I found myself turning to the newspapers for relief.

Deep in the Times one day last week, surrounded by all the war news, I found an obituary of Robert Brooks, who founded the Hooter's restaurant chain. The writer said Hooters was known for spicy chicken wings and even spicier waitresses. Who could read that and not at least smile?

I found another story about the death of Arthur Haggerty. I learned he was credited with making dog training into a respectable profession and was known to legions of dogs as "he who must be obeyed." Hadn't known of him myself, but I won't forget him after reading that.

And then there was the story I found on the business page that began: "Robie Livingstone has all but given up on having a positive underwear buying experience."

How can you NOT read on when a story starts that way?

Maybe it's just me, but I was in a better humor after reading those stories.

Of course it didn't last long as the day wore on and the rest of the news rolled in.


E-mail Face the Nation.

By Bob Schieffer
  • Patrick Kiker

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