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The Slice

“Leave it to Beaver” and newspaper circulation

"Leave it to Beaver" predicted the newspaper industry's problems almost 60 years ago.

Sure, I know it is easy to make fun of that ancient sitcom. June vacuuming in pearls, Ward wearing a suit at home seemingly at all times. Et cetera.

But on one count, that good-hearted series was right on the money.

Every time Ward tried to read the newspaper, which he did in virtually every episode, someone came into the room and interrupted his attempt to stay abreast of current events, in Mayfield and elsewhere. Inevitably he would put the paper down and turn his focus to whatever crisis required his attention.

To an extent, I fear this reflected reality in many American homes. Eventually some subscribers to the daily paper had to ask themselves if looking at the newspaper actually caused interruptions. And that kind of thinking could not be good for circulation.

Of course, the remedy was suggested decades later, in an episode of "The Wire."

A veteran reporter was in a bar and talking about how, when he was a kid, everyone knew that when his father was reading the paper, the old man was to be left alone. He smiled as he said that.



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