Monday, July 25, 2011

Bulletin jacks up newsstand price to 75 cents

If you thought 50 cents was too much to pay for the local daily newspaper on the street, the Bulletin says "good riddance" by increasing the price of the weekday paper 50 percent to 75 cents. It's $1.50 on Sundays.

Not that it matters to most readers of the paper. 

Perhaps, the brain trust at the paper figured that pushing the street price up during the height of the summer tourism season wouldn't be noticed by visitors from California, Washington or other states. 

The monthly subscription is still $11 a month, for now. Look for it to increase in the fall when subscribers return from vacation and have more time or reasons to read the paper. Or, the paper may wait until the fall of 2012, during the heat of the presidential race, to hike the delivery rate.

With the drop in subscriptions along with the near extinction of the classified section thanks to, the daily paper needs to shore up its finances. 

High gas prices don't help. 

Furloughs, pay freezes and layoffs/attrition only go so far. Judging by the number of different bylines that come and go each month, the revolving door of the newsroom appears to be off its hinges.

The local daily has all but ceased to exist as a place to find breaking news. It has long ceded that role to local television and radio. 

A recent dramatic, midday rescue of a mom and two kids on the Deschutes River, which occurred about a mile from the paper's offices, didn't get much coverage until two days after the incident when it had long been played out on television.

The paper has the same philosophy about state, national or international breaking news. It routinely buries  breaking stories inside the paper that most other newspapers display prominently on their front pages. 

This leaves the local daily as a place for features and in-depth stories on how public workers, teachers included, are the new Rockefellers of the region. 

The anti-public worker stories are so commonplace they appear to be re-runs. And, it gets old, quickly.

The local daily does little to make readers aware of how developers and the builders' union essentially run our town to their benefit and not to the benefit of the overall community. It did nothing to alert readers of the dangers of real estate tax-shelter exchanges until arrests were made and millions of dollars lost. 

Of course, you wouldn't get any of this on local television or radio either, but no one expects them to do any meaningful, in-depth reporting in the first place.

Newspapers used to look out for the common good, but now, with declining revenues, they place an even higher premium on the interests of advertisers over the well-being of the community. 

Newspapers have been in decline ever since the telephone first appeared when cities had multiple daily papers. 

Then came radio, then television, then cable, then the Internet, then the smart phone and, voila, no one needs a newspaper anymore.

Social networking, blogging, YouTube, craigslist and others have shown where the growth in information is, and, it's not in newspapers.

It used to be said that no one under the age of 40 subscribes to a newspaper. Today, that age is probably 50 and rising. As the local weekly noted, a recent edition of the daily paper was filled with full-page ads selling hearing aids.

And, raising the price of the paper to 75 cents, particularly in this economy, is not a way to reach a younger audience.

1 comment:

  1. Maybe you were let go by a daily newspaper at one point in your rather worthless career, Xray. Holding much of a grudge? Hmmm?