Bill Lueders: I agree - the loss of newspapers is a tragedy ("For the Love of Newspapers," 7/18/08). I have grown up with newspapers: My brother and my sons were carriers; I worked at a newspaper.
There is no comparison to reading and holding a printed newspaper in one's hands. Morning coffee is much richer with the latest in news, sports, local happenings and obits to share with someone by exchanging sections and discussing the stories. It's pretty hard to swap computer screens. Also, a few crumbs or coffee drips won't short out the newspaper.
Yet I put some of the blame on the newspaper industry for its decline. Instead of fighting back with more news and added features, newspapers have given in to the Internet and tell us to check their website for further details.
For a country that brags about its freedom of the press, it is sad to see us becoming a country free from the press.
Bill Lueders: Your column was excellent. I love a good newspaper. The problem is that I don't know of any in Madison except Isthmus. I do get the Sunday New York Times and issues of the Toronto Globe and Mail periodically from a friend in Ontario. That's another great newspaper, full of news. A news-paper.
My business, Rutabaga, supports Isthmus with a substantial investment in advertising. I am happy to do so, as I think it is a good deal for Rutabaga and a good deal for Isthmus. I encourage other local businesses to do the same. I can't say I feel too good about supporting Lee Enterprises - their ads are overpriced, their content mostly AP wire stuff, and all the great writers I used to love in the Wisconsin State Journal are long gone.
The perception I get is that many newspapers are there to sell ads, not give news, and the amount of content worth reading has diminished. I know that it's a fiscal reality that you need to sell ads, especially with a free weekly such as Isthmus.
But when you get a Sunday State Journal and have to shake three pounds of color inserts from Menards, Home Depot, Sports Authority, Dick's, Gander Mountain, etc., into the recycle bin before you even crack it open, something has gone awry.
Bill Lueders: Your opinion is right on target and timely. My own love of newspapers began as a paperboy when I sold the "extra" edition of the St. Louis Globe-Democrat reporting the explosion of the Hindenburg. I was hooked. I read newspapers until I'm full.
We have dumped and lumped all forms of public communications into "the media" label and incorrectly placed the blame on the whole group rather then the culprits. TV, bloggers and talking heads are the first to report events but the last to check the facts. All reporting is now politically slanted with disregard to accuracy and detail.
Edwin Henleben, Middleton
MY CRIB's Jerry Overstreet is truly a one-man wonder ("A Crib of Their Own," 7/18/08). I had the pleasure of meeting him as a member of the Rotary Club of Madison's Community Grants Committee. When he launched this very worthwhile program, a lot of the start-up money was out-of-pocket, demonstrating Overstreet's passion for leaving a positive mark in the lives of others.
Needless to say, the Madison Rotary Foundation funded MY CRIB's grant request. Overstreet himself deserves a lot more recognition and financial support. I bet many MY CRIB kids will become a new generation of mentors one day.
Who said one man can't make a difference? Thank you, Isthmus, for making this Madison superhero's story public!
Associate professor of marketing, Edgewood College
Just a reminder for Mayor Dave: In Germany, the dense population came first, then mass transit to meet transportation needs ("Mayor Dave's Fanatical Anti-Car Crusade," 7/25/08). We are spoiled and spread out, which calls for a totally different strategy. I don't know what that strategy is, but he wants to force "car-light" neighborhoods down our throats.
Clareen Erickson, Waunakee