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  • Posted on Apr 30, 2009

Tell Out My Soul

Tell out, my soul, the glories of his word! Firm is his promise, and his mercy sure. Tell out, my soul, the greatness of the Lord to children’s children and forevermore. Stanza 4, Hymn 438, Hymnal 1982

Episcopalians often think theology through hymn texts. When I’m working on a certain theme for a sermon or a teaching session, I do think of certain Bible passages right off the bat. More often, hymns come to mind first. I then have to work my way back to Hooker’s famous Anglican three-legged stool (scripture, tradition and reason) in order to get back to the scripture from the tradition (hymnody)!

This morning, I have the demise of our newspaper industry much on my heart. Tuesday and Wednesday, the Baltimore Sun cut its newsroom staff by nearly a third. The reduction hit nearly every type of job in the 205-person newsroom–top editors, copy editors, photographers, critics, columnists, sports reporters, page designers and graphic artists. The cuts have affected Memorialites.

I suppose that I’m a dying breed–but I love the local morning newspaper. Breakfast over the sports page (if I can get to it before Bryan). Lingering over the rest of the paper with my cup of strong Irish breakfast tea. It’s a firm morning ritual. I am even old enough to remember when there were two local newspapers. For me, that meant reading the Washington Post in the morning and the Evening Star in the late afternoon. Although I have resorted in the past few years to reading the New York Times in addition to the Sun in order to get important national and international news, I can’t imagine how I’d learn about the local goings-on in Baltimore except through the newspaper. Now I’m not completely living under a rock. I do check the weather on the internet as well as watch the Daily Show with Jon Stewart (and sometimes the Colbert Report). But I am never quite satisfied with the method of finding and then reading the news on the internet.

As it looks as though the Sun will be less and less news and more and more ads in the days to come- a mere vestige of its former self–I wonder: What will happen to those marvelous obituaries that Fred Rasmussen and Jacques Kelly write? How will folks that have not come into the computer age–the elderly–find out about funerals? What about the local neighborhood events around food and gardens that Rob Kasper so eloquently and enthusiastically covers? Of course, what about the extended coverage of the Orioles (as painful as it is right now) and the Ravens? These articles bring pleasure and hope to my life. Given the size of Baltimore, I often read about folks I know in the Sun. How will I know their stories?

Well, I guess that I will have to be on-line more in the days to come. But, truth be told, I don’t think I’ll ever sidle up to a laptop with my cup of tea to read the news. I’ll have to find another way. Times change. But the loss of a local newspaper would be the end of an era. It’s the way that I know that a community tells out its soul.

Do you still read the local paper? How do you get your news?