A small pleasure—when time permits—is reading a daily newspaper back to front, rather than my usual online skim and swipe. I had time during my winter retreat in Southwest Florida to enjoy the local newspaper although that was a quick read because the news coverage is far below “acceptable”. So I treat the newspaper as what it truly is: a great source for local events and activities, and I read it for its entertainment value.
I do read online versions of my favourite newspapers, although I confess that I still savour the touch and smell of newsprint on my fingers (print journalism background). I especially treasure the ability to leisurely peruse a complete newspaper without requiring a magnifying glass to enlarge the miniscule typefaces favoured by online publications. But, most importantly, a physical newspaper gives me the option to glance at the advertisements whereas online, I am distracted and annoyed by the constant bombardment and cascade of revolving screen ads.
Florida’s vocation as a haven for frozen north snowbirds (i.e. Canadians) of a certain age, means that baby boomers entering their “golden” years decamp here in droves, especially in view of this year’s harsh winter in eastern Canada. The reality is that this aging population needs healthcare services and there is an astounding plethora of medical specialists in Florida ready to attend to any type of ache, pain, infection, or disease.
Contrary to Canadian doctors, Floridian medical practitioners broadcast their specialties from the tops of the palm trees. Naturally, the newspapers are the happy recipients of millions in advertising dollars from the medical community. With an endless supply of aging boomers and the need to attract new clientele, Florida’s medical profession is sitting pretty. Interestingly, many of the newspaper ads relate to arthritis, especially remedies to treat deteriorating knee and hip joints, which are widely recognized as a leading problem among the older set. The local newspaper carries at least half a dozen ads every day about alternative treatment programs or surgical interventions to alleviate suffering (informal survey: joint implants lead the pack, followed by spinal issues. No mention of A.S.).
The weekend newspapers, in particular, explode with ads related to various public activities related to arthritis, including a speaker series where arthritic joints are the main topic, or book signings with authors who have a personal interest or experience with the disease. Some ads also discuss non-surgical procedures or alternative treatment programs related to dysfunctional joints (all accompanied by personal testimonials from satisfied patients). And, of course, there are a variety of ads offering wacky and wonderful home remedies for arthritis, such as apple cider vinegar.
Personally, I find it comforting to live in the midst of a population experiencing aging challenges, with arthritis a top concern. Instead of maligning the local paper as a poor source for news, I award it top marks for raising the public profile of arthritis and offering a multitude of solutions, however inane or impractical. ~Fran