Letter to the editor: Why newspapers are folding

December 8, 2014

newspapper gutterOPINION By ALLAN COOPER

I am one of the few people I know who actually enjoys reading a daily newspaper printed on paper and delivered to my door. However, many years have passed, and I’m not counting, when I have repeatedly complained to my local newspaper that I have not had a paper delivered.

I call early in the morning when I can actually speak to a real person and still nothing happens. Later in the day a “robot” answers when I call and promptly tells me that today’s paper will be delivered to my house tomorrow. Does it surprise anyone that I’m not interested in day-old news?

When the paper is delivered, it lands on the roof or windshield of a parked car, in the street gutter or on the sidewalk where random pedestrians frequently pick it up to save themselves a dollar. I call again and complain about how this paper is delivered and I’m told that the situation will be corrected (it isn’t).

I believe that this paper’s so-called “customer service” is grievously wanting. The people who answer the phone these days have trouble understanding the word “broad” for Broad Street and I have to spell it out. I give them my three number address and they spit back six numbers. Their speech mannerisms are unintelligible and I sometimes wonder if I’m connected to a “call center” in some foreign country.

It has become clear to me why one newspaper after another (with the exception of New Times who do not make paper deliveries and paperless CalCoastNews) is folding in this country and it has less to do with the appeal of e-papers than you might think.

Allan Cooper is a retired Cal Poly professor and a member of Save Our Downtown.

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Beyond your obvious personal service problems, there are several dynamics that are more germane to your question.

#1 …most Americans are stupid not even interested in literacy or critical thinking anymore.

Reading is too much a bother, much like everything else that doesn’t involve the latest fad or the current gossip on some nitwit celebrity.

#2, these same morons are so absorbed by their electronic ego devices, games, and other trivia that they not much more than semi-functioning robots that are only marginally human when it comes to their digestive habits.

#3 Corporate media, of which there are less than a dozen major sources in this brain-damaged nation.

They have NO political ideology, other than whatever suits them to be sensationalistic enough to attract an audience of dolts so that they can collect advertising dollars.

Profit is their only motive.

This is an interesting theory on the stupidity of the average American from someone who has a hard time crafting a grammatically correct sentence. And apart from the poor writing, it’s little more than cliches. But I’m sure the writer felt better about himself after completing it.

Sorry, I did not have much time to properly craft and proofread.

You still evidently understood the gist of my arguments.

You care to dispute any of the particulars, or are you merely happy to be a snarky grammar Nazi ?

News papers are folding because of the constant biased bilge that is offered up as news. The print media gives less unbiased reporting than television and that’s saying something. The fact that the paper can’t seem to get to it’s destination on time is a symptom of dipping sales and lowering profits due to the lack of a connection with the majority of it’s readers. I suggest that news papers place hiring quotas within it’s reporter ranks. 50% liberal and 50% conservative….then just maybe they can begin turn the corner. But don’t hold your breath.

The obvious reason newspapers are folding is that the “news” they are reporting is now more opinion than news and thoroughly editorialized, some biased to the left, some to the right, but for the most part to the left. There is a bent on reporters and editors (eg NY Times) to want to shape the world as they personally want it to be by presenting their biased viewpoints and attempting to sway their readership. Those who see through this cancel their subscriptions like I have.

It depends on the publication and the reader. The LATimes is a great fit for me, print-media-wise…I just wish that, in the 5-cities area, it wasn’t so gull-durned difficult to get it dependably delivered at a reasonable time so working folks can read it before they go to work.

So I go buy a copy every day from the local 7-11.

While the Trib may not have A+ content and it for me it has D- politics, slant, blindness and moronic liberal commentators and reporting………….. and I frequently CRINGE at it’s stance and slant, still… I’m an information junkie and love the old fashioned paper….

as to delivery, I have none of the issues. We pay our bill on time, and maybe twice a year I’m up when the carrier drives up and I hear him/her, and I dash out a twenty for a tip. I was a bicycle newsboy once and have always been a tipping fool for wait staff, servers and so forth. Maybe that’s why our paper always seems to be on the walkway or porch. Try a timely gratuity for those who provide you with goods and services.

Still get my paper daily, live in 5 City area, have “HOOVER NEWS-AGENCY” as my carrier. They are customer oriented, take care of any problem that may arise when a new delivery person can’t find the right house. Same day delivery, friendly service, best in town for customer service by people who have been doing this for 20 years in my case. Strong recommendation!!

The milk man, the bread delivery and now news papers have outlived their practical aspects. The price of energy, people costs and insurance costs have antiquated the conventional new print. A cheap wireless device is much better and allows further search on every topic.

Both approaches to news–electronic and hand-held printed newspaper–have their positive and negative aspects.

Like most things, whether it is “positive” or “negative” differs depending on who is offering their opinion.

The town cryer wearing a sandwich board is long gone as our aged readers will be too. The young will seize the new platforms familiar to them and never miss the old. As a six year veteran paper boy, I’ll cherish those memories.

I, too, grew up with the habit of reading the printed newspaper in the morning while

having breakfast and coffee. Unfortunately, this is no longer the popular way.

And with the Trib you can read the whole thing in about 10 minutes; ads included ,

especially on Mon, Tue ,and Wed. But what other choices are there?

As to customer service – I would say that is very par for the course. Somewhere over the

past 10-15 years- getting good customer service (particularly on the phone) has

degraded to the exact place you describe. More and more companies or organizations

have demonstrated that they really do not care about the customer.

It takes 10 minutes to read the thing? Surely you’re being charitable. There’s nothing in it to read anymore, and that’s why the Tribune is damaged goods. Here in SLO, their city reporting is virtually non-existent, and what little they do do reads like a Chamber press release, not news. I always want to throw something when Trib media types blame the internet for their problems. No, folks, you’ve done it to yourselves — it’s lack of content, folks, that is making your paper go down the sewer. You offer nothing, you get nothing in return. And your snotty editorials criticizing people who are trying to make town better are insulting, and further drive your franchise into the ground. May the Trib have its funeral, and clear a spot for something better.

Newspapers face closure because they have become irrelevant in the on-line age. The Trib may have delivery problems but more importantly they have a problem relating to a generation who get their news via smart phone as quickly as it happens. Too many of the generation who are wired do not care about what is happening in their me world. Newspapers no

longer report what is new, they cronical what by the time it gets into print is history … and the majority don’t care (even if their paper is delivered on time).

Alan other cities have exceptional paper newspapers, but the local Trib seems to be bad at everything

Is this because other cities have competition? or better management?

Better management. We can remember when the Trib had a total monopoly, and was decent. Because the editors stood for what was right, not what was profitable. Now there’s competition, and none of the news media here are any good. It’s not a market thing. It’s bad vision and management.

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