Lum: Reading the paper online

Needless to say, the best way to read the newspaper is to pick up a copy at a newsstand and hold it in your hand, but this can sometimes be a treasure hunt in town and impossible for our many readers who live out of network.

Now that I’ve retired from the ad department, I have gotten more and more into the habit of reading the papers online, a solution that holds challenges of its own but beats going out in the (sob) cold and snow to try to find a hard copy.

The first thing I learned was not to approach the computer when in an excessively optimistic frame of mind or when feeling stressed and pissed off in general. Calm and cool with no expectations is the attitude to aim for.

I’ll limit this column to The Aspen Times, the mother paper where I worked for 47 (gads) years, because I don’t want to imply that the Daily News website is better, but I will say that its archive system is inadequate, while the Times’ archives are excellent if you can find them.

I’ve found through bitter experience that the best way to read The Aspen Times is to go to the “e-edition.” This shows the newspaper page by page, ads and all. You will not find this option on the homepage but have to scroll down a notch, where it shows a little business card-sized replica of the open newspaper. Click on that, and you will get the e-edition. Maybe.

Your first frustration may be that you click on the e-edition and hear a “cluck” sound and see a yellow star with an exclamation point inside it. This means that the e-edition is not — for reasons unknown — available at that moment. When this happens, I go directly to the Daily News to see if I’ll have any better luck with its e-edition — sometimes yes, sometimes cluck!

This is why you should avoid beginning the process when you’re in a bad mood to start with.

The advantage of the e-edition is that you get to see everything in the paper rather than trying to find what you’re looking for in its rolling list of top 10 stories, some of which are no longer the day’s news. Also, it avoids the random Google questions that are so dear to our readers’ hearts.

There is no way to read the comics unless you opt for the e-edition. If you were looking, say, for my column, you would not find it under “Columnists” in the black box at the bottom and certainly not in the top 10 stories or even under “More news.” You can find columns under the “Opinion” box at the top of the page, or you can enter my name in the search box.

“Ah, but where is the search box?” you might well ask. You have to seek to find. In the upper right corner of the homepage, you will see a small icon of a magnifying glass. It is not labeled “search,” and there is no clear box suggesting where to enter your search, but if you click to the left of the magnifying glass, a box will appear, and you can type in Roger Marolt or whatever you’re looking for.

This is also the archive box, where you can find just about anything you may be researching.

Some days you can get through the whole paper without impediments. Other days, the screen may stop at page 11 and refuse to budge until you go back to the e-edition and start over. Suck it up.

Unless you have superhero vision, note the plus sign on the far right. Hit it once, then hit the minus sign, and the page will be the perfect size for reading the paper online.

Su Lum is a longtime local who longs for the days of the papers on her doorstep every morning. Her column appears every Wednesday in The Aspen Times. Reach her at