Wednesday, May 06, 2009

How reading newspapers can keep you from getting rabies

Amid the whole kerfuffle over the Boston Globe and its possible (and now apparently averted) shutdown, some people have wondered aloud why it is that we need newspapers. Is it because they are guardians of the public trust? Watchdogs of government malfeasance? The place where you can read “Wizard of Id”? Well, yes, all those things … But mostly it’s because newspapers save lives.

When Megan Kulikoski picked up her Saugus Advertiser on the morning of Thursday, April 30, she immediately panicked. A front-page story about a rabid cat that had attacked three other Saugus residents grabbed her attention. At that moment she realized she had been attacked by the same black cat on the morning of April 22.

Thanks to that newspaper report (which she noticed because it was on the top of the front page, not because she happened to click on a link somewhere), Kulikoski was able to get potentially life-saving rabies treatment — just a few more days and it would have been too late.

So the moral of this story is, all of you people who say that we don’t need newspapers will be singing another tune when newspapers are gone and you all have rabies.

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