Irvin Bender has been a Lodian since his birth in 1926. Though the 83-year-old says his family had always had the Lodi News-Sentinel around, he didn't really notice it until he began to read - and without it, he'd be lost.
The current state of the newspaper industry concerns Bender. Each morning, he finds in-depth stories that are able to expand on stories that may only be covered for a few minutes via TV news.
"It distresses me enormously," Bender said from his home in Lodi. "There's no other way to get news the way you get it from a newspaper."
He went on to say that people make a mistake when they only get news from other sources.
Bender began subscribing to the News-Sentinel in 1953. During those 56 years, he has subscribed to The Record, the San Francisco Chronicle and The Sacramento Bee. As the News-Sentinel's mix of story coverage increased and as cable news stations began to emerge, Bender dropped other subscriptions, holding on to his beloved News-Sentinel.
"In years past (the other papers) had a bigger depth of news, plus better sports pages," Bender said. And as the News-Sentinel appears now, "I like it the way it is. I think they've got a real good mix."
But what if his local paper went the unfortunate way of too many other businesses? What if it stopped the presses permanently?
"It would be a calamity. I wouldn't know what to do with myself. There's nothing to take its place," Bender said.
Though the active octogenarian (who plays two 18-hole rounds of golf each week) says he would probably begin frequenting coffee houses to get his fix of news, he would rather dwell on his "morning coffee with the News-Sentinel."
"Here's the picture: I got the coffee cup right beside me. I hold the paper with both hands, lean back in my office chair and sip coffee," Bender said. "You can't get the experience any other way."