Brian Fuller's blog on the media, marketing and content creation

Detroit Papers to Cut Home Delivery

Posted on | December 16, 2008 | No Comments

The auto capital’s newspapers are not only slashing jobs but they’re going to cut home delivery. I get the idea, but couldn’t they at least throw out an innovation bone like issue customization? Give me two extra pages of sports and less international coverage than the average reader. It can be done at the printing press easily and the only trick is making sure the delivery people throw the right newspaper to the right doorstep. Do I have to do ALL the thinking around here???
Alas, it seems that Detroit newspapers go, so go American big city dailies. How so? One of the problems that began rotting the core of American newspapers was the Joint Operating Agreement, signed into law by President Nixon in 1970. The idea was noble: cities need competing journalistic voices, but it quickly became newspaper welfare and stunted any innovation that big city dailies would have been forced to do without the JOA.
And something tells me Detroit was among the first to do a JOA.
Now it’s the first to cut home delivery without offering any other innovation other than saving money.
Papers are just flailing, and it’s pathetic. These people are supposed to smart, but maybe not.

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No Responses to “Detroit Papers to Cut Home Delivery”

  1. Loring Wirbel
    December 16th, 2008 @ 3:27 pm

    Detroit’s JOA started when I was still in high school, so I have a feeling you’re right. The News and Free Press have spent 30 years developing the art of not having a clue. But in offering less services for no incentive, they’re merely following the way of 2009. We accept less services with no upside. Home delivery options seem to follow the trend of snow-plowing and snow-removal options: Twice a week if we feel like it and have the money. And no, you don’t get something for the reduced service. Suffer, bitch. (Interesting aside on reader comments on the story on Detroit delivery cutbacks in the Colorado Springs Gazette web site: Most readers give it a thumbs-up, say it’s a great transition vehicle to no print. Of course, these readers are skewed toward the online-only.)

  2. Dark_Faust
    December 19th, 2008 @ 6:00 pm

    Here’s a thought: Someone should create the software application that allows readers to use RSS feeds to create/layout the “look and feel” of a customized newspaper. Then, have HP, Epson, or Cannon develop a printer that uses this software and paper larger than 8×11 to print a double-sided newspaper for every reader. The software/printer would gather the feeds and print your “newspaper” every morning, to enjoy with your coffee. A individual and customized printing press.

    The business model? Make it a pay for service, say $10/month. You could sell adv/sponsorships, too.

    Just a thought from the trenches. Keep up the coverage, Brian (and Loring). Happy Holidays all!

  3. Jackie
    December 22nd, 2008 @ 9:14 am

    Hey Brian, how about a national newspaper along the lines of NPR and PBS? Ads gratefully accepted, but otherwise we sponsor fund drives twice a year. I don’t know what else is going to help. It’s so depressing!

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