Tuesday, March 19, 2013

The daily newspaper gets harder to find

It's cold in Chicago this St. Joseph's Day, colder than historic averages, colder still when one thinks about how warm it was just last March.

But this is Chicago, where the weather can be hot or cold or windy or rainy or snowy or humid or dry or chilly or warm -- and often all on the same day.

We're used to it.

So that doesn't excuse the nice man who usually sells the Sun-Times outside the train station in the mornings.

This is a different nice man than the one who was there regularly for a couple of years; this is the fellow we see Sundays peddling the Sun-Times at church.

I'm not singling out the Sun-Times at the expense of the Tribune. The Tribune experimented, a while back, with a tabloid commuter edition and, when that failed, it abandoned street sales entirely. Unless you take a paper at home, then, if you want a paper for the train, you're limited to the Sun-Times -- unless you consider a 'free' publication like Redeye an acceptable substitute, as only the functionally illiterate can.

Of course, even the Sun-Times is a pale substitute of what it once was. Just a few years ago, for 35 cents, the paper was 100 pages thick. Then the price went up to 50 cents and the newshole shrunk and the amount of pages contracted. Then it went up again, to 75 cents, and was lucky to hit 50 pages. Michael Sneed is still in the paper, and Mark Brown, but Richard Roeper is increasingly shunted to movie review duty (Roger Ebert -- who's a marvelous writer -- must be in shaky health again, poor man). And recently the price went up to $1, just like the Tribune and, just like the Tribune, the street vendors began to disappear.

Let's see: People aren't reading newspapers, so we raise prices and make our product hard to find.

I begin to think that politicians have been put in charge of newspaper marketing.

1 comment:

Empress Bee (of the high sea) said...

our newspaper, the palm beach post, is a liberal rag that i won't waste my money on...

smiles, bee