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The last print subscriber

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by I Should Coco, Sep 22, 2014.

  1. I Should Coco

    I Should Coco Well-Known Member

    Anyone else on here the last print newspaper subscriber in their entire extended family? Well, I am now (and of course, that's a free subscription to the paper where I work) after my in-laws finally threw in the towel on the Chicago Tribune.

    Apparently, the folks in Tribune Tower have jacked up circulation rates for the dead tree product again, alienating even more of their core customers. Including my in-laws, both in their early 70s, who informed me they're not renewing after their annual subscription bill went from "300-something" to "more than $500" in the past year.

    As my father-in-law noted, you're paying a lot more for a lesser product than it used to be. They've lived in their suburban house for more than 40 years and have subscribed to the Tribune the entire time. Until now. They say they'll buy the Sunday paper at the grocery store, and that's it.

    My parents (in their mid-60s) made the same decision a few years ago when the Arizona Republic jacked up their subscription, because it now included "free" access to all the content on the azcentral web site.

    These are four people who grew up with the newspaper habit, especially enjoyed reading the Sunday paper with their coffee and cinnamon rolls, and passed that love of the newspaper business on to me.

    Now I'm the only one. Literally no one among my sibling/siblings-in-laws, cousins I keep in touch with, or friends who aren't in the business take a print newspaper. NO ONE.

    It's not just all those folks in the obituaries who are causing print circulation to fall off a cliff. Raise the price enough, and there will only be online readers left — and be careful what you wish for there.
  2. MisterCreosote

    MisterCreosote Well-Known Member

    My parents are the last, and they're just riding out the term they've already paid for and then they're dropping it.

    I will never, ever buy a print newspaper again. Unless the business model changes from "charge more and more for less and less, and make the content you DO deliver much more shitty and irrelevant."
  3. playthrough

    playthrough Moderator Staff Member

    Yeah, as long as my parents are kicking, they'll have a paper. Even though the sports section is never good enough for my father (sorry Dad, you're not going to get away from endless Clemson and S.C. coverage in the Post and Courier).

    I canceled my print subscription to the local metro a couple months ago with some anguish. I have two small children and love the idea of a daily newspaper in the house, but the reality was that my wife and I weren't reading it and if we weren't then I couldn't expect them to. And the product isn't worth the price anyway.
  4. Bronco77

    Bronco77 Well-Known Member

    Same here. My parents are about to turn 80, don't have a computer and have no interest in learning how to use one this late in life. They'll subscribe either until they die or the print product is eliminated (given the company that owns the paper they read, the latter scenario could happen sooner rather than later).

    I still subscribe to the local metro down the road on weekends and pick up a copy as often as possible on weekdays. A few friends remain at the paper, and I've always felt like I'm helping them keep their jobs a bit longer by buying the print edition. I'm also somewhat old-school myself and, while willing to read the online edition, I like reading an actual paper instead of something virtual. Silly reasons, I know, but I'm still a holdout.
  5. DeskMonkey1

    DeskMonkey1 Active Member

    I only subscribe to have access to our website. I haven't taken the rubber band off my newspaper but maybe twice in over a year, that being for Black Friday ads
  6. I Should Coco

    I Should Coco Well-Known Member

    I'm the same way ... I still enjoy reading the paper in the morning, especially the comics and sports sections.

    We often talk at my shop about whether or not we'd get the paper if we didn't work there. Most of my coworkers say no, and in fact, very few of them actually read the paper now. I think I would, even though I'd have to pay (much less than $500!).
  7. AD

    AD Active Member

    wrote a story recently for a print product: it had newsy stuff in it for the beat involved, should've created a stir. nothing happened. no other writers seemed to notice. i thought, 'hmm. guess i was wrong about what i'd gotten...'

    a week later it was put on line: twitter, news stories, talked about on tv. and one of two possibilities hit me. 1) NOT EVEN JOURNALISTS ARE READING PRINT ANYMORE. and/or 2) if it's not linkable, it doesn't exist -- even if it contains what on this beat would've passed for news. that seems crazy, and different from my experience even as recently as a year ago.

    anyone else feeling that? print is where the money still is, where the ads still pay...but not even journos think it's at all important? maybe it truly was just me. but if not, this shift seems tectonic....
  8. playthrough

    playthrough Moderator Staff Member

    I don't see how journos can think it's important. I read stories on the local paper's website, then the next day I'll see a copy in the office and it has ... those previous day's web stories. There's no content that is exclusive to the print edition except, as best I can tell, the comics or Dear Abby.
  9. reformedhack

    reformedhack Active Member

    I grew up loving the daily newspaper, from Sports to Metro and all sections in between. I would read it over my Cheerios before catching the bus to middle school. But as it stands, I haven't subscribed to a daily paper in more than three years, ever since Mrs. Hack left the newspaper business and her discounted subscription perk ended. It kills me to say that I don't subscribe to the daily paper, but I don't. I don't have time to read it, and when I do, I've already read most of it online for free -- and updated with the latest details. The only thing I miss is context — I love to see how a story is played in print.

    We get the Sunday paper for the coupons and inserts, and I do -- usually -- read it cover to cover, because I have the luxury of time to do so. And a big Sunday breakfast nurtures the reading habit, too.

    That said, I'll still buy a copy of the local paper from the box if I'm traveling in another city because a physical product gives me a better feel of what's happening in the city. Likewise, if I find myself having lunch here in town by myself during the work week, I might spring for a copy of the Wall Street Journal, New York Times or USA Today for something to read.

    But a rolled-up newspaper in a plastic bag dropped off in my driveway every morning? I just don't find it necessary any more.
  10. UNCGrad

    UNCGrad Member

    I'm out of newspapers now, but my employer was the site of a two-week national sporting event this summer. Back in the day, all of the local, regional papers would bring stacks to put on the media table. This time? Only the small local weekly did it. Number of times in 15 days I saw journalists reading a paper, whether in the media center or at lunch?

  11. trifectarich

    trifectarich Well-Known Member

    When we moved into our new house last year, I gave the Sunday NYT a try, then told them to get lost when the introductory period ended. I could drive a mile in order to buy it for $6 or I could have them drop it at the end of the driveway for nearly $9. So now we get the Sunday edition of the local metro just because my wife found an offer of $10 for a year.
  12. Frank_Ridgeway

    Frank_Ridgeway Well-Known Member

    We subscribe. My mom still subscribes.

    My late father was a newspaper ad salesman. He always said that a good salesman believes in his product. I think that's part of the problem now -- too many people working on newspapers who aren't newspaper readers themselves. They are pretenders and readers see right through them.
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