Thursday, May 05, 2011


"oyez oyez now hear this..."

Superman Laptop
Newspapers are dying a slow, painful death as classified ads, advertising revenues, and subscriptions continue to slow and decline. To counter this, papers like the New York Times have turned their online content into a subscription system where a story stays up a day or so then goes behind a subscription wall.

There's a reliable, constant source of revenue that newspapers have been depending on in these hard times which may go away, and they're fighting to keep it. That revenue stream is the public postings that go into newspapers. These postings are not very often read but they are purchased by the local and state government in accordance with publicity laws. With the age of the internet, people are starting to wonder why the government is paying to put this stuff in newspapers fewer and fewer people read.

Maine, for example, spends $250,000 a year putting public postings in newspapers, and legislation is being proposed to shift that to the internet, where more and more people get their news and the cost would be immensely less for the state. It also would make the public notices easily searchable, continually available, and accessible worldwide.

By doing so, newspapers would lose another very predictable source of revenue and that would have a fairly significant impact on their ability to survive. Maine is examining the economic damage this would cause and whether its worth saving a few hundred thousand dollars of taxpayer money.

The problem is, as Instapundit points out, if there's another viable place to put these notices and save money, keeping them in newspapers amounts to a subsidy - taxpayer money spent to keep newspapers afloat.

I like newspapers in theory, but its been a very, very long time since I've actually sat down to read one as opposed to scanning a few headlines as I shove them into the wood stove building a fire on a frosty morning. And since I'm hardly alone in this, using them for public posting is like tacking a king's edict in the town square and figuring everyone knows about it.

Just for fun, here's a humorous bit someone emailed me about newspapers:
  1. The Wall Street Journal is read by the people who run the country.
  2. The Washington Post is read by people who think they run the country.
  3. The New York Times is read by people who think they should run the country and who are very good at crossword puzzles.
  4. USA Today is read by people who think they ought to run the country but don't really understand The New York Times. They do, however, like their statistics shown in pie charts.
  5. The Los Angeles Times is read by people who wouldn't mind running the country, if they could find the time -- and if they didn't have to leave Southern California to do it.
  6. The Boston Globe is read by people whose parents used to run the country and did a poor job of it, thank you very much.
  7. The New York Post is read by people who don't care who is running the country as long as they do something really scandalous, preferably while intoxicated.
  8. The Miami Herald is read by people who are running another country, but need the baseball scores.
  9. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch is read by people who want only the score of the Cardinals game. They drink Budweiser, Budweiser, and wait a minute -- what was the question?
  10. The San Francisco Chronicle is read by people who aren't sure if there is a country or that anyone is running it; but if so, they oppose all that they stand for. There are occasional exceptions if the leaders are handicapped minority feminist atheist dwarfs who also happen to be illegal aliens from any other country or galaxy, provided of course, that they are not Republicans.
  11. The National Enquirer is read by people trapped in line at the grocery store.
  12. The Seattle Times, Idaho Statesman and The Oregonian are read by people who have recently caught a fish and need something to wrap it in.

1 comment:

LordSomber said...

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution is read by people who have recently caught a fish and need something in which to wrap it.