Dear Ally or Whatever is Your Official Opinion

Facebook Rant from Ally M...
Dear Ada Evening News or The Ada News or whichever is your official page. I do NOT want to have to sign up for an account to read obituaries. This is an annoying trend in websites lately. STOP IT!

Dear Ally,

The Ada News is a newspaper. As much as you might wish and hope it is a government service like a public library or the water department, it is, in fact, a business. Businesses are, well, in business, which means their purpose is to make money. Unlike the city or the county or the country, who can raise taxes, your taxes, to build roads and pay the firefighters, businesses like the daily newspaper have to charge for their services, and that includes web services.

It really surprises me that someone like you, who has spent her life towing the conservative/right wing line, seem to have such an obviously socialist attitude about the business of running a newspaper. Or is it simply that you simply think you are somehow entitled to the newspaper?

So your choices are pretty clear…

  • Start your own newspaper and give it away for free
  • Actually pay for the present product
  • Or your solution, whine about it

Maybe you would like it if I got on Facebook and demanded, simply because I wanted it, free services from your business? Maybe I should come in and just start taking things off the shelf? That’s what you want, after all; the newspaper’s product for free. Some of your commenters suggested using a product called http://bugmenot.com to cheat the newspaper out of online subscriptions. Can I assume it would be okay with you if I used a web site to cheat your business out of its product?

Newspapers has been the watch dog and the guard dog of democracy, but they are not free to produce. If you want a product, you should understand the need to pay for it.

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5 Comments

  1. I lost track of the number of times someone marched into my office and demanded something or other because the newspaper was a “public service”. Sigh.

    But, because I sometimes enjoy playing the Devil’s advocate…

    1. Perhaps not in every newspaper, but in mine, the obituaries at least were (usually) prepared by either the funeral home or family of the deceased and required minimal editing/formatting from the newspaper staff. Most of them were available without charge on the funeral home’s website, for those really wanted to read them. (Because the funeral home had already charged the family an exorbitant fee for other services.)

    2. I was regularly told during my eight years at a small-town newspaper that advertising (not the subscriptions) paid entirely for the salaries, operations costs, etc. of the business. The cost of the subscription paid only for the paper and for the delivery staff. Therefore (someone could follow this train of logic) if there’s no paper and no delivery staff involved, then there should be no cost to the consumer.

    ** End devil’s advocate **

    I really do hope that newspapers, advertisers, and customers come to some form of agreement before too long. At the current rate, most of the nation’s papers will be gone in a couple of decades, even most of the big ones.

    I don’t think our republic can long survive without a thriving press. And sadly, TV news decided not to fill the newspaper’s waning shoes and went a different direction.

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  2. Devil’s counter advocacy…

    >> the obituaries at least were (usually) prepared by either the funeral home or family of the deceased and required minimal editing/formatting from the newspaper staff < < This is not relevant. When we publish something in our newspaper or on our web site, it represents our intellectual property. How we obtained it and how we sell it is our business. >> advertising (not the subscriptions) paid entirely for the salaries, operations costs, etc. of the business < < This is an enduring myth in the newspaper industry, particularly in the 21st century, in which there are fewer paper subscriptions and more web/app products, which plays an increasingly significant role in the bottom line of news organizations.

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  3. Was this an actual rant on the paper’s Facebook page? Who is this person? She makes a compelling argument, thoughtful, rational and lucid, based entirely on what she WANTS. Yeah, right. I agree totally with you, Richard. (And I’ve heard it said, by morons, that newspapers are all either A) owned by the same company or B) by the government.)

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  4. “This is not relevant.”

    Oh, of course not. The devil very often doesn’t argue a straight line of logic. He wouldn’t win very many arguments that way. :-)

    (It *might* be relevant to Ms. Ally, if she can find it for free on the funeral home’s website instead of bitching at the paper’s website.)

    “This is an enduring myth in the newspaper industry, particularly in the 21st century…”

    To be fair, the newspaper that employed me was solidly stuck in the 20th Century — using solely Windows, printing only in black-and-white, actually using paste-up for part of my time there, etc. Our owner assured me that advertising covered everything but the press & delivery; however, I never saw any columns of numbers to back up this claim.

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