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A funny thing happened the other day…

I have two twenty-something sons living at home. Last week, one of them made an unusual request…

By James Evelegh

A funny thing happened the other day…

Last Friday morning, I was heading out the front door, when my 25 year old son shouted out, “hey Dad, can you get me The Times, I’ll pay you back.”

Absolutely incredible.

No, not the paying back bit. He had asked me to buy him a print newspaper.

His phone wasn’t broken, nor his laptop.

The next day, I felt I had to ask… “Why?”

“The main reason is to get off the phone and I would much rather sit with a paper in front of me than scrolling through my phone,” he said.

Reading in print was more “enjoyable”.

I wanted to know more.

With a print newspaper, he said he would spend 1-1.5 hours, not necessarily all in one sitting. Online, he might spend similar time, but it was more skimming. Online, he would typically get his news from BBC News and the Apple News app.

He liked the fact that in print, there were no cookies, that the reading experience had not been catered specifically for him.

Did his friends feel the same way, I asked. He wasn’t sure, but he did think that, generally, there was a growing sense that spending hours in front of a screen every day was not healthy.

The one stumbling block – he was surprised how expensive it was. A weekday copy of the Times is £2.80 and that was, he felt, a lot of money to fork out every day.

I was heartened to hear about his evolving reading habits. Not because I carry a particular torch for print, but because print offers a rich reading experience that is distinctly different to digital and our media lives would be diminished without it.

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