Newspaper readership…

Ever wonder why the readership of our local papers is so low? A local writer once told me that something like 5% of Alamedans read the paper…

Ever wonder why so many Alamedans are so uninformed?  Unengaged?

Might have something to do with delivery of the papers.  Did you know that many of us do not get both papers—Sun and Journal—each week. And lately, not even one of the two papers?

In five years, I have never gotten an Alameda Journal thrown onto my property—they only get delivered to homes on the other side of my street. And those homes across the street? They never get an Alameda Sun.  It’s a joke on my block; a landlord across the street regularly saves his Journal for me.

But it’s not funny.

And it’s gotten worse: today, on my walk, there were ZERO Journals on my block. And on nearby blocks, only a sparse few homes had papers on their walkways.

Last week, the stack of Alameda Sun’s destined for my block were found tossed into a hedge in a neighbor’s yard.  (!)

The week before that, a bound stack of papers was simply left on the sidewalk at one intersection. (!!)

HOW ARE ALAMEDANS SUPPOSED TO BE INFORMED AND ENGAGED LOCALLY IF THEY DO NOT EVEN GET A SINGLE LOCAL NEWSPAPER?

I believe this is the basis of most of our problems in Alameda.

An extremely small—-abnormally small for the SF Bay Area—-number of residents are online and can get their news therefrom. To widely disperse any information in the City of Alameda, it needs to go out in hardcopy. Even if everyone got each paper each week, not everyone reads it.  But when 50%+ of residents do not even get the paper?!  WHAT does THAT do to readership?!

I’ve notified editors and writers of both papers several times that their papers are not being delivered to every household in the City of Alameda.  As far as I can tell, the editorial silos at the papers are so totally disconnected from the management of the paper and any business issues that nothing gets communicated or done.

AS CONCERNED RESIDENTS, WE SHOULD BE UP IN ARMS. IT’S PERSONAL. THIS COMPLETELY DISENGAGES AND DISENFRANCHISES THE PUBLIC.

The proper goal of news reporting is public enlightenment so that the citizenry can engage in effective self-governance. That means what a paper publishes is important. But what of delivery? If the paper is not delivered, any potential benefit to the public from what they publish is a moot point!

DELIVERY OF THE PAPER IS AS EQUALLY IMPORTANT AS ITS CONTENT.

The newspapers need to be accountable for their failure to ensure their papers are delivered. We need to be informed and we are anything but.

IF WE ARE NOT INFORMED, IT MAKES IT DIFFICULT, NAY, IMPOSSIBLE, TO REPRESENT OUR OWN INTERESTS.

Uninformed means unengaged, unconcerned (aren’t those in charge doing their job? why should I pay attention?  I haven’t seen/heard anything’s wrong…) and leads to apathy.  That’s what we have here in Alameda.

WHAT WE NEED IN ALAMEDA: A VIBRANT, INFORMED, POLITICALLY-ACTIVE COMMUNITY.

We simply have too much at stake, too many critical decisions about our future, to not be.

BUSINESS OPPORTUNITY: I do believe there is a business opportunity in Alameda in the newspaper delivery industry. Summer may be the perfect time for some teens to launch a new business to hire neighborhood grade and middle-school kids to deliver papers on the blocks near their homes. I’d love to see the local kids delivering the papers before or after school. The kids would do a far better job of it! This would signficantly increase our civic pride and engagement….and in this economy, I bet there are more than a few kids who could use the extra money too.

LOCAL BUSINESSES: You are the ones paying for ads in the local papers, right?  You should be complaining. Your ads are NOT reaching every household. You are paying for something you’re not getting.

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About Denise Lai

Alive. Swim (fly is the best). Walking with my dog (weims are the best). Life is good. Would prefer people understood negative externalities and prevented themselves from creating them. Feeling the love anyway. View all posts by Denise Lai

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