Thursday, July 2, 2009

The Decline and Fall of The Local Newspaper

Much has been written about the decline of print media. In our area, it isn't just the print media. Our local TV stations are attempting to go down the same path as the newspaper. Let's take a look first at our local newspaper.

Our newspaper has found new, creative ways to alienate their remaining, loyal audience. What do I mean by loyal? Well, I've subscribed to home deliver of the paper for over 21 years. If that isn't loyal, what is? So let's count the ways our local paper is using to ensure that continued loyalty.

Old Service Method: Classifieds daily, and you could find what you wanted
New Service Method: No classifieds on Monday and Tuesday. I know someone in the newspaper business so I know why they are doing this. There is a logic to this. But what about the other days? Last Saturday I looked fruitlessly (no pun intended) for the listing of local farms who were offering U-Pick fruit. I guess they eliminated that too. News Bulletin: people do read the classifieds for reasons other than purchasing cars.

Old Service Method: The comics were visible without a microscope
New Service Method: why has (and I am going to name names here) "Cathy" shrunk to a size that middle aged eyes barely can make out while "Baby Blues"has panels twice the size? Is there any logic to the big comic/small comic thing?

Old Service Method: Deliver the paper daily, usually by 5am
New Service Method: For some reason, the last few Thursdays and Fridays, the paper doesn't get delivered until after I leave for work, which....well it's way after 5am. I used to sit down with the morning paper while I ate my cereal. Now, sometimes, it doesn't get read at all. Maybe one day they won't deliver it at all. Let's see if I notice.
(and yes, we tip the carrier. My spouse delivered papers as a teen and he remembers it well.)

We won't mention the Incredible Shrinking Newspaper Width (one reduction in December, one reduction this week), the Let's Play with the Fonts so People Can't Read our Paper, and the other games the paper is playing.

I have read newspapers all of my life. My 19 year old son, on the other hand, has barely opened a paper in my sight, ever, in his lifetime. He isn't alone. And if you keep up the not so great service, Dear Newspaper, the 50 year olds won't be reading your paper either., instead of reading the sometimes-not-there-paper-when-I-am-getting-ready-for-work, I decided to depend on the local TV stations. Which leads me to my next post.

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