Over the summer, I swapped my subscription to The New York Times from a digital-only to an old-fashioned home-delivery print subscription. One day, my neighbor picked up a copy and was amazed that the TV listings were still printed every day.
In yesterday’s print edition, the Times announced that it would stop printing TV listings, something the paper has printed since 1939. The reasons for discontinuing the listings are obvious to anyone today: most everyone I know watches TV asynchronously. We don’t need to know what’s on TV tonight any more than we need the paper to find a job, a used car, or a secondhand couch. Also, this gives the Times more space to write about—not simply list—television programming, of which there is more than ever.
Today, in the Sunday, August 30, edition of the Times, we see the final run for tonight’s TV listings. Curiously, today’s listings were printed in the Metropolitan section, which home subscribers like me received yesterday, as part of the Saturday delivery. It is perhaps one of the most succinct—albeit unintentional—messages that speaks to the anachronous nature of timely news still being delivered in print in 2020.