Hardly a man takes a half-hour's nap after dinner, but when he wakes he holds up his head and asks, 'What's the news?' as if the rest of mankind had stood his sentinels. Some give directions to be waked every half-hour, doubtless for no other purpose; and then to pay for it, they tell what they have dreamed. After a night's sleep the news is as indispensable as the breakfast. 'Pray, tell me anything new that has happened to a man anywhere on this globe' - and he reads it over his coffee and rolls, that a man has had his eyes gouged out this morning on the Wachito River; never dreaming the while that he lives in the dark unfathomed mammoth cave of this world, and has but the rudiment of an eye himself.
For my part [...] I am sure that I never read any memorable news in a newspaper. If we read of one man robbed, or murdered, or killed by accident, or one house burned, or one vessel wrecked, or one steam-boat blown up, or one cow ran over the Western Railroad, or one mad dog killed, or one lot of grasshoppers in the winter - we never need read of another. One is enough. If you are acquainted with the principle, what do you care for a myriad instances and applications. To a philosopher all news, as it is called, is gossip, and they who edit and read it are old women over their tea. Yet not a few are greedy after this gossip. There was such a rush, as I hear, the other day at one of the offices to learn the foreign news by the last arrival, that several large squares of plate glass belonging to the establishment were broken by the pressure - news which I seriously think a ready wit might write a twelvemonth or twelve years beforehand with sufficient accuracy.
Henry David Thoreau, Walden: Or Life in the Woods, 1854