Hey, did you see what was in the paper?

On Sundays, you might pick one up to look at the discounts.

Along the way, you might even read some news.

I’ve seen rampant downsizing in the business. It makes cutbacks and lay-offs in the movie “Roger and Me” seem like a warm, afternoon picnic.

Every time I get on this “newspapers are dying” thing, KOGT’s Mr. Earle says, “Everybody talks about the paper. Go to Gary’s Coffee Shop any morning and someone will hear, “Did you see what was in the paper?”

Walter Isaacson, a former Time magazine managing editor, notes the same in “How To Save Your Newspaper,” published in a recent edition of Time.

Newspapers are more popular than ever, especially among younger readers, he says.

I hope he’s right. He suggests papers should charge more for their, what are now, free online services.

It’s a good concept. I hope he’s right.

Let’s say you have six newspapers in your area.

Three publish once a day and the others, once a week, and they all charge for Web stories.

There is at least one Web site that gives away for free.

And the publisher of that paper is happy to tell his advertisers, whom he glad-hands at the charity ball, “Everybody looks at us for free, so your ads get seen by more people.”

And he tells the composing department to come up with “ … a house ad about this. Free is better than paying.”

Then he goes and plays golf, or goes fishing, like all good managers do.

And like the large discount stores that kill the mom-and-pop operations, newspapers will die.

I wish I could change it, but I can’t.

And 100 years from now, newspapers are past, unless they have a Web site that gives it for free.

I enjoyed reading Mr. Isaacson’s story, which ironically was given away for free.

[Readers may e-mail robert1961@live.com]