Another one bites the dust

Thoughts from Behind the Pressline

A newspaper is more than words printed on a page. Newspapers were created to serve a purpose, and that purpose was not to be a cash cow. On the contrary, the newspaper is the cheerleader, the whistle blower, the watchdog and the major economic booster for a community and the region it serves. Despite the popular belief that newspapers can’t compete with today’s technology, the simple truth is this move isn’t really about competition or technology. If the primary mission of a newspaper is to inform the community, the method by which the news is distributed shouldn’t leave people in the dark, nor should it be an excuse to cut expenses and jobs.

If those five newspapers were locally owned by an active member of the community, someone who was a professional newspaper publisher, we would not be seeing this same solution to the perceived problem in five different areas. This action to remake their news delivery method is an attempt by senior management to keep more money for their shareholders, and the community will just have to live with the disappointment of less access.

Consider some basic numbers: At a blended rate of 65 cents per edition, and an average of 70,000 copies per day, the Post Standard will lose $45,500 per day in circulation revenue for the four days per week they will stop delivering. That is $182,000 per week and $9.464 million per year, assuming they don’t raise the price, which they most certainly will. That number doesn't even take into account the tens of millions of dollars in advertising revenue they will lose in making this transition. Jobs will certainly be lost, and Central New York and the Capital Region of Pennsylvania will suffer as a result. Under a local family ownership, the needs of these communities would have been better addressed because they would have listened to their readers, community leaders and advertisers. The solution would not have come from a board room, but from the community.

Dan Alexander is publisher and CEO of Denton Publications. He may be reached at dan@denpubs.com.

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