This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on March 21, 2012 9:47 AM. The previous post in this blog was Nurse Amanda says she's still way ahead. The next post in this blog is Another apartment bunker for Division Street. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

E-mail, Feeds, 'n' Stuff

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Never mind -- the O wants 19 cents an issue

When someone takes a poll, the results are only as good as the question asked. Yesterday we asked readers whether our local daily newspaper was worth a nickel a day for a subscription. And by a 54%-to-46% vote, respondents to the poll said yes.

But in comments to our post, an alert reader pointed out that we weren't being offered that price by the O. Way down in the fine print on the mailer we got, in teeny weeny print that old newspaper guys used to call "agate" type, it is revealed that the $19.99 annual subscription that we are being offered is only for the Sunday and Tuesday papers, which contain all the grocery store coupons. And so the price per issue is actually more like 19 cents an issue, not 5 cents.

That's an offer not worth asking our readers about. Who wants the news delivered only two days a week? And who would pay 19 cents for the O? Certainly not us.

It's got to hurt morale in the newsroom that the paper is now being actively hawked just for the coupons. That lowers it to the level of paper known as a "shopper" -- a publication whose news and editorial content is usually thrown away, with the subscriber keeping only the ad offers. How far the Pulitzer winners have fallen.

Anyway, our apologies. We should have read the fine print -- and it sure was fine -- before troubling readers with our question. It's off to the recycling bin with the mailer.

Comments (12)

In one way, paying 19 cents per copy of the "Oregonian" still makes it better than paying nothing for "Willamette Week". After all, you're getting what you pay for with both papers. and Willy Week is still great for its main purpose: packing dishes and other fragiles when you're trying to move out of Portland and go somewhere affordable.

I don't know how the O's carriers will be able to handle this Sunday and Tuesday delivery scheme. I tried to get a vacation stop placed in early January and the paper never stopped being delivered. It is, however, a brilliant marketing move - getting someone to pay to have advertisements delivered to your door.

Perhaps if you thought of the O as a group of people trying their best to entertain, you might reconsider? Would you give $0.19 to someone on a street corner who sang a song you like but do not have on your mobile device? Would you give $0.19 to Joseph Rose for this:

19 cents two days a week might be a good deal. You get some of the news but not reading overload. And you have newspapers for wrapping, packing and to protect the floor when painting. And as a tree farmer I know it's good to harvest some trees so we can plant new ones. It keeps the economy working.

The "new" O should be paying us to read the ads and press releases. I don't clog my recycling bin with it anymore. Shame, too. It was once a respectable local paper. I even used to defend it against it against snobbish out-of-towners.

We used to actually get the O just for the coupons, but discovered that many of the coupons were for paper checks, limited edition gold coins, discounts on exercise equipment, and very little for anything we would actually buy. And that was the end of our subscription.

Kristine, that's the situation with a lot of other papers, too. Out here, the Dallas Morning News calls up at least once per week, desperately begging me to subscribe, and the big selling point these days comes from the coupons. "Oh, you mean the same Morning News coupons that arrive in the mail every other day for free?", I ask. Things go awfully quiet at the other end when I bring that up.

The New York Times now is cutting its free on-line views to 10 a month from the current 20, starting in April. You can still read the Oregonian for free, on-line.

I much prefer newspapers in print. More and more newspapers are facing dastardly financial pressures. Most of the ads that used to largely subsidize them have become "inserts" for which the papers are paid pennies on the dollar.


You can still read the Oregonian for free, on-line.

Yes. They realize that nobody will pay to read their regurgitated press releases, so an online paywall is kind of out of the question for The Zero.

I feel better knowing that even a respected tax attorney occasionally fails to read the fine print!

Actually Jack, you were half right the first time. It's really 5 cents on Tuesday and 33 cents on Sunday. That seems about right to me.

The O is not really a newspaper for people who crave and savor investigative journalism. The daily's editor has cautioned all who might believe the journal does a competent job:

“'[W]e can be faulted for not digging deeper,' Bhatia wrote."

The O's scribes just potter around some stories. Some, the O simply ignores. For example, one might search the newspaper in vain for coverage of the recent month's developments in the matter of WaMu, which should have been of concern to the editors of the Northwest's largest newspaper.

Clicky Web Analytics