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Frank on Newspaper Business Practices

Published on March 17, 2017

We need newspapers and they need us. But some of their business practices could be improved. With declines in ad revenues, newspapers are raising subscription rates to stay in business.

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Discussion

By Dov Isaacs on Mar 17, 2017

It wasn't only the price of the renewal that bothered me about the Murky News subscription, it was the double-sided page of legal gobbledygook including a requirement that if I had any “issues” with them, I had to agree to BINDING ARBITRATION and not to attempt any legal action otherwise!

BINDING ARBITRATION for a newspaper subscription? Are they out of their cotton-picking minds? Their own editorials over the years have complained about businesses that force you to agree to binding arbitration as a pre-condition to doing business with them!!

Then there were other little goodies in that letter (and a follow-up). The first was that they were going to send me three special advertising supplements per year at extra cost that would be taken out of my subscription (i.e., they would reduce the term of my subscription to pay for advertising supplements). The second was a change of policy that allowed you to suspend delivery while on vacation and have the credit for the suspended delivery time applied to increasing the length of the subscription. The Murky News now allows you to suspend delivery while on vacation, but you get no credit for those days of no newspaper!

Bottom line — after over 33 years of subscribing to the Murky News and a strong supporter of printed news media, with these grossly consumer-unfriendly business practices and a continually shrinking newspaper (some Mondays, it was barely 12 to 16 pages) in which much of the hard-hitting local reporting was eliminated in favor of nationally-syndicated drivel), I cancelled our subscription. And ironically, neither my wife nor I miss it!

- Dov

 

By Gordon Pritchard on Mar 17, 2017

Frank, I have to disagree with you.
We don't need newspapers. Newspapers need us. Unfortunately they haven't seemed to realize that fact and have acted accordingly. They have only themselves to blame for declining readership.

 

By Dov Isaacs on Mar 17, 2017

@Gordon:

I violently agree!

It was only after discontinuing my subscription to the Murky News that I realized how little value the current incarnation of that rag provided me.

Ironically, the same (mis-)management that issued the new subscription ultimatums, discontinued the paper's popular RSS feeds that I used when travelling. They actually cut their on-line usefulness while chasing away printed newspaper subscribers!

- Dov

 

By Gordon Pritchard on Mar 17, 2017

Unfortunately the Murky News (LOL) isn't the exception in newspaperland.
At least that paper doesn't appear to have a paywall on their website nor does their website realize when a browser is using an ad-blocker. So their free to access non-revenue generating website is designed to compete with their own print edition. Hmmmm.

 

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