What Happens When A Newspaper Is No Longer Daily?

Thrice-weekly paper delivery may be the future of news publishing in de-populated cities. When this happened in Detroit, some people decided they really wanted daily delivery, and they got scrappy. The newspapers caught on to the scheme described below, and took it under their wing–effectively outsourcing their delivery service. Excellent article by Nieman Lab.

Free Press editor and publisher Paul Anger says that before the reduction, delivery trucks were driving the equivalent of “to the moon and back” each week. Scrapping the majority of Detroit Media Partnership’s home delivery schedule meant that Detroit’s two metro dailies were cutting hundreds of thousands of miles of transport-related costs each week — not to mention the paper-and-ink savings from not having to print nearly as many newspapers.

But for some, that delivery job simply shifted from unionized drivers to a small army of retirees, housewives, and others who started their own ad hoc paper routes on non-delivery days. Long-time Detroit media commentator Jack Lessenberry, a former editor at the News, is one of those customers: He pays a woman in his neighborhood 50 cents above the $1 newsstand price to get the paper delivered on the days the newspaper won’t. He gets billed every three months for the service.”

Says Paul Anger: “The opportunity here is to break away from a very narrow publishing model that emphasizes print.”

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