Letters From The Editor: Taking the funny way into the newspaper

They say kids don't read the paper anymore.

I know one who does.


Don't conclude that I force her to sit down with the newspaper because my livelihood depends on people doing just that. I can't even get her to eat a cooked carrot.

My 7-year-old daughter took to print on her own. Not that she's serious about Syria or anything.

She's reading the funnies. Every one of them. Every day.

There's a back story here. About a year ago my kid was enjoying those old holiday-themed "Peanuts" flicks. So one morning I showed her the classic strips that still run in the paper.

She was thrilled to see Snoopy and Charlie Brown romping around this messy stack of black-and-white stuff that her parents combed through every morning. (Cartoons, of course, are how newspapers have been marketing their product to kids for decades).

So she started reading the strips, immediately taking to "Lio," "Mutts" and "Marmaduke."

She took this project, as she does anything involving reading, with complete focus. She'd quietly comb through each strip, staying at the table long after finishing a bowl of cereal, averting her gaze long enough to laugh or ask a question about what something means.

I thought this interest would fade like yesterday's newsprint. It didn't.

She started asking if she could retrieve the paper from the porch every morning.

I'd say yes and unlock the door. She'd run down and grab the paper, carefully pulling out the Calendar section, going right to the comics.

So now, on those days when I don't leave before everyone else is awake, the three of us sit around the table and read the paper over breakfast. My wife and I hand sections to each other, make comments, point out great pictures and stories.

It's all so Rockwellian, an experience that digital media (which I love for other reasons) can't replicate. Our family interacts and connects over the printed paper in a way we never do when glued to tablets, laptops or phones.

So on Father's Day, I plan to look across the breakfast table, where my daughter will make me proud by reading those full-color funnies and hope that maybe, just maybe, when she's old enough she'll read a story edited by her dad.

JOHN CANALIS is the editor for the Daily Pilot, Laguna Beach Coastline Pilot and Huntington Beach Independent. He can be reached at (714) 966-4607 and john.canalis@latimes.com.

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