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Reading globally

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Reading globally

Regarding Robert McCord’s lament about dying newspapers (Nov. 10): The demise of the newspaper isn’t that “young people aren’t reading daily newspapers like they used to,” but rather that people of all ages are skipping over the local rags for global presentations.

Watching TV isn’t an altogether bad thing. At our house, we wake up with CNN Headline News. There are inherent problems with brushing one’s teeth while perusing a newspaper, or cooking breakfast, or any of the other morning activities most people have to do to get to school and work. A television set is much easier than wrestling with a newspaper.

Listening to the radio is all right, too. Thanks to the morning shows, we can determine why we are in a gridlock on the interstate, or even how to avoid one; we can hear about the weather, we can be entertained.

Reading the Internet for news is, sadly for newspapers, where the action is to be found. Why? Simple — because I cannot get home delivery of Le Monde, the Press Digest (Africa), Al-Jazeera, the Washington Post, the Japan Times, the New York Times, the Guardian (London) or Pravda without belaboring the family exchequer. On the Internet, these newspapers are free. They are also a way to get a bigger picture, a sense that perhaps, just perhaps, the world is bigger than Arkansas.

We should read world news because there are things we aren’t going to get out of the local paper. One example: Last October we stumbled across a story in Al-Jazeera about how the U.S. government was helping itself to the promised matching funds of federal employees’ savings plans. This was not announced to any federal employees in any way. It wasn’t until a few days later that we found a matching story in the Washington Post. Bush and Co. agreed to pay the money back.

Also, I really contradict McCord on bloggers: Some bloggers ARE journalists. Blogs are a way for them to more fully express themselves without editorial squashing due to political leanings or a lack of space. I also notice that there is blog on the Times website. If newspapers go the way of the dinosaur, it will be for the same reason. Move, adapt, or die are the only viable options.
Laure Miller
North Little Rock

Takes on Wal-Mart

All the anti-Wal-Mart stories and movies ignore one basic area where Wal-Mart has competitors beat — beyond price, that is: shopper comfort and more selections.

When you’re elderly, disabled or just fat and get winded with high blood pressure, Wal-Mart is the place to shop for three basic reasons: motorized shopping carts and benches throughout the store, and larger sizes!

Wal-Mart needs to add more of the larger sizes, organize these clothes into plus-size sections, and more benches around its stores, especially where dads are forced to wait while someone shops: the toy section and ladies clothes.

Stores like J.C. Penney’s, Sears, PetSmart, Toys R Us or Sports Authority need to add a couple motorized shopping carts and benches if they want to compete against Wal-Mart.

You don’t need to have all the store accessible from the cart, but just get shoppers close, say within 20-30 feet!
Keith Weber

Taking a first glance at the Oct. 27 issue of the Arkansas Times, I thought that I had received a shopper publication featuring Wal-Mart. I couldn’t believe that the Times, which journalistically far exceeds most papers of its ilk, would be a cheerleader for a company that is the epitome of vertical exploitation — taking advantage of everyone from Third World sweatshop toilers who make the products the giant retailer sells, to its own low-wage workers who have to turn to government aid to get health insurance or even food. Not to mention the reality that Wal-Mart destroys Main Street small businesses every time it goes into a community. I thought perhaps that some of this would be mentioned in the article, but it wasn’t. Not even a sentence.

Sure, it’s good that Wal-Mart helped out the victims of Katrina. But it’s akin to a slumlord making a donation to the local hospital or library to try to create a good image in the community.

It’s surprising that the Arkansas Times, at least in its Oct. 27 issue, became part of the Wal-Mart spin machine.
David J. Glenn
Brooklyn, N.Y.

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