“The Times They Are a-Changin.’” So states Bob Dylan in his iconic song in 1964. You bet your sweet bippy they are, so states your beloved scribe 58 years later.

I thought of that song when I read in this weekend’s Marietta Daily Journal that beginning May 17, the newspaper will be delivered to you daily via the United States Postal Service. That, boys and girls, is a perfect example that the times are a-changin’.

We are a long way past the days when a bunch of neighborhood boys (I don’t remember any girls in the group) would gather each afternoon on a street corner with bikes at the ready waiting for a car to arrive with a bundle of newspapers.

The papers would be dropped off. The kids would gather their allotment, fold them, put them in their bicycle baskets and head off through the neighborhood tossing them on porches, in the yard and occasionally on the roof.

That’s how people got their news after they got home from work in the pre-television days. Somewhere along the way, neighborhoods grew and expanded as did the immediacy of television news. And the kids and their bicycles were replaced by adults and automobiles.

This would remain the norm for many years until the Internet came along. Talk about your times a-changin’! Instead of retrieving the paper out the front door in your skivvies, you now have the ability to access your news right off your desktop, laptop or cellphone.

There are a bunch of us who like to hold a hard copy of the MDJ in our hands each day. I happen to be one of them. There are also a bunch of us who like to get updates on Cobb County happenings throughout the day. I am one of those, too. I applaud the MDJ on seeing both those needs and meeting them in an innovative and efficient way.

As you can imagine, hiring and retaining drivers, compensation and fuel costs are extreme challenges these days, not helped by the pandemic. That requires looking at new and better ways of delivering the news to you. The answer is the post office for same-day delivery of the hard copy, while recognizing that more and more of us are getting our news digitally. In the case of the MDJ, that means as early as 4 AM. (An aside: I am just as dazzling at 4 AM as I am at 4 PM. You would expect no less of me.)

Lest you accuse me of being a “homer” for the paper, I learned of the announcement like you did. I read it in the Weekend Edition on Saturday. While the paper’s management has to be aware of my well-earned reputation as a visionary problem-solver, they seem to prefer that I spend my time learning where commas go and leaving the heavy lifting to them.

Newspapers across the nation aren’t dying because of irrelevance. Rather, too many are having the life sucked out of them by robber barons. As MDJ publisher Otis Brumby III noted in his letter to readers this weekend announcing the new delivery system, a recent 60 Minutes report showed that nearly one-third of the daily newspapers in the U.S. are now owned by private equity groups who, in order to maximize profit on their investment, are gutting the newsroom and leaving the community with little to no local coverage.

Happily, that does not seem to be the case at the Marietta Daily Journal. The paper is and has always been locally-owned. We are talking 155 years. The MDJ will continue to be the paper of record for Cobb County and Cobb County will continue to be the only county in Georgia with a daily newspaper and a Major League baseball team. Eat your heart out, Daily Paper in Dunwoody.

Brumby says the paper is investing in the news operation and plans to add, not drop, reporters in the upcoming months. That is critically important because there is a lot going on in our county these days that needs to be closely watched. We are nearing a decision on whether or not to create four new cities in Cobb (including three in this current election cycle) not to mention a host of contested local elections. The Mt. Bethel Methodist Church dispute with the bishop of the North Georgia Conference has yet to be resolved and, of course, we have a seemingly tone-deaf county commission that would rezone a broomstick.

Oh, and I almost forgot. There is that modest and much-beloved columnist who is a dead ringer for Brad Pitt ready to entertain and exasperate you even if he hasn’t the foggiest idea about commas.

In short, the times may be a-changin’ on how we deliver the MDJ to you but not in our commitment to continue to provide you the most complete and up-to-date coverage on what is happening in our dynamic county. That’s not a-changin’. Even Bob Dylan would agree with that.

You can reach Dick Yarbrough at dick@dickyarbrough.com; at P.O. Box 725373, Atlanta, Georgia 31139 or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/dickyarb


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