Me and the Morning Paper

Reunited with an old friend, who shows up every morning on my doorstep, bearing tidings, good, bad and in-between, gossip, a peek into lifestyles not my own and just like mine, I feel like my life’s back on track. La Voz de Michoacán and I have had an off-and-on relationship for years, or at least since I first laid eyes on Morelia back when José López Portillo was moving out of Los Pinos.

La Voz is everything that the rest of the pack isn’t. It’s a tabloid, designed for reading on the subway, which Morelia will never have. It’s about as flashy as a pair of Flexi shoes – and just as reliable. It’s not a sexy, edgy newspaper, but it’s solid, comprehensive, and it delivers what it’s supposed to.

It’s also the only newspaper published in Michoacán which bears its price both in Mexican pesos and U.S. dollars. 10 pesos and 1 USD. You know what that means.

And it’s also the only paper around, at least that I know about, that has the P’urhépecha Jimbo—a page printed in P’urhépecha and in Spanish.

It sells out faster than its competitor at the abarrotes in my neighborhood.

The late Miguel Medina Robles was a publishing giant, and even though I only met him once, at the annual dinner over at the rectory during my colonia’s fiesta patronal, he made a lasting impression.

There is just something civilized and disciplined about print that the digital world doesn’t deliver. I’m forced to read sections that I’d ordinarily skip online. Sure, the digital version is easier, but it encourages skipping over items that I find myself poring over in print: two-page spreads about Pre-Hispanic music in Michoacán, what the recipients back in the Old Country do with remittances sent back home from migrants, the career of a caricaturist over at the Plaza de Armas. I can tear out sections to save for later, clippings to be passed on instead of forwarded.

Newspapers have been as much a part of my life as magazines. I grew up on the Los Angeles Times, followed by the San Diego Union and the San Diego Evening Tribune, the St. Joseph News-Press and the St. Joseph Gazette, the Des Moines Register and the Des Moines Tribune. For twenty years, Sundays were filled with both the Omaha World-Herald and the Des Moines Register. Each foray to a new city meant having to pick up the local newspaper, even if it was just to read the obituaries of people I never knew.

But then my lifetime ambition, never fulfilled, was to be editor of Parade. A slender printed-on-newsprint accompaniment to the Sunday newspaper, it was read by more people than any other magazine.

Every newspaper demands reading in its proper order, which is probably not how the editors intended. The Sunday New York Times means grabbing the magazine.

But we’re talking about La Voz here. And this is the order in which it’s read in my house:

• Toca Mal. Everything worth knowing can be f0und in that small below-the-fold (if a tabloid had a fold) on page 2A. Toca Mal, who has gone from Francisco Lopez Guido to someone else, is the Herb Caen of Michoacán.

• Facetas. The F section, these are the social pages, where I concoct connections and stories in my own head about the lives and people who grace those pages. I get to keep up on the birthdays and saints’ days of people who’re a notch above me.

• The back page of the A section: seguridad. That’s the crime page.

• Dinero. The C section tells me how broke I am.

• The A section. That’s the main body of the newspaper, containing the far-too-lengthy-to-read editorials. And the esquelas. Those are the obituary notices placed by businesses, organizations, and important people lamenting the demise of important people. I am amazed at how quickly, sometimes only within hours of an unexpected death, these notices appear.

• The B section (pais) and the G section (regional news).

• Finally, the E section, called O. which stands for ocio (free time), containing entertainment and cultural news.

• And then I’ll do a switchback to the F section for the crossword and horoscope.

• The D section? That’s the sports section, which my employee grabs before the newspaper reaches my hands.

And what did I do this morning while reading the print version? I clicked on the web version just for the update.

15 comments on “Me and the Morning Paper

  1. Carole Kocian says:

    My hubs is addicted to print newspapers. When he reads, if he finds something to share and read to me (often), I have already seen it on line. A real buzzkill for him :)


  2. John Calypso says:

    Over the years of retirement (in my 22nd year) I have slowly moved away from the news junky I was in that former working life. I have learned to be more interested in local affairs and gossip most of which never hits print form; or much more than the local Forum which is a viper pit. The fact that time has exposed news and news people as pretty unreliable has not helped to hold my interest. Sad to read BB King died (the last latest news of any interest). I do keep up with Saturday Night Live’s Weekend Update news which often requires some knowledge of ‘what is going on’. I do admire your dedication and organization skills however ;-)


    • Hard-hitting news is probably the last reason I read the newspaper. Gossip, advertisements, recipes, and advice are far more compelling. When I was growing up, the first parts I’d read were Ann Landers and Dear Abby, who taught me more about everything than anyone else.


  3. You are hopelessly old school, but you describe it very well.


  4. Deb says:

    My father was a faithful reader of the Faribault Daily News. Front to back, skipping over very little. A habit (or pleasure) I never acquired.


  5. norm says:

    I buy two locals here at home everyday, pass them on to my father-in-law, he is an addict as well. I read news online first thing in the morning but the print news always has more depth.

    I buy the papers for the editorials more than anything, I’m a sucker for a good essay even if I think the writer is wrong in his/her thesis.


  6. Terri says:

    I always find your entries interesting, but the St. Joseph New-Press and St. Joseph Gazette caught my eye as that is where I lived for the first twenty-five years of my life. My family had a small grocery store there, my husband’s family had a bar and a cafeteria. I’m assuming you lived there too. If so, when? My grand plan is to be in Mexico for the latter part of my life. :)


    • Practically every summer and many Christmases were spent in St. Joe, which I came to consider more of a home than just about any place else. There were so many good memories there — Einbender’s, the treasure chest at the Robidoux Hotel restaurant, my grandfather’s office at the stockyards, Ben Magoon’s, Fox’s Emporium, even I Buy..


  7. Steve Cotton says:

    Parade? You too? I wanted to re-work Walter Scott more than once. I was silly enough to wonder why, after writing Ivanhoe, he ended up in a Sunday supplement. You disinter the strangest of my memories.


  8. Kim G says:

    I definitely prefer to read my news online. No dirty hands, not fighting with enormous sheets of paper, no forty pound bundles of discards to haul to the curb. And you answered a question which popped into my mind as I read. There is an online edition, which interests me because I’d love to read the “Herb Caen of Michoacán,” having been very fond of reading the original on paper in the 70’s and 80’s.

    And I’m quite impressed you do crosswords in Spanish.


    Kim G
    Boston, MA
    Where we share John Calypso’s increasing skepticism of the news media.


  9. babsofsanmiguel says:

    My kids used to tell me I made a career of the Sunday paper. Took the Houston Post and the Houston Chronicle because of a couple of writers, each of which were with each paper. Now when I go back, I like to see the ads. Since I seldom shop for anything, its fun to see all the gadgets that are available, although I have no desire for them. I don’t have the same sense of fun in reading the digital version as I do laying up in bed with coffee in hand and all the sections around. Many years ago I got the NYT and the first part I read was the book and travel section. DO miss seeing that, but never think to look at it on the web…………Thanks for the post.


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