2012-01-20 / Letters

All The News Fit To Print For $2.50

Dear Editor,

On Monday, January 2, 2012 – the New York Times raised its price from $2.00 to $2.50. Several years ago, the Times received favorable eminent domain, zoning, regulatory and tax relief to assist in covering relocation costs to their new midtown Manhattan offices. The New York State Empire State Development Corporation also granted them a $1.25 million grant to pay for expansion of their College Point, Queens printing facility.

As a teenager in the 1960s, I can still remember being able to buy four newspapers for less than a dollar and getting change back. At the end of the day, increasing the newsstand price, shrinking content, reduction in actual newsprint size or favorable government subsidies will not be the determining factor for the survival of the Times, Daily News, New York Post, Newsday or other daily newspapers.

We live in one of the few remaining free societies, with a wealth of information sources available for any citizen to access. However, sadly, most American cities and suburbs are down to one local daily or weekly newspaper. Most papers have to deal with continued increasing costs for news print, delivery and distribution along with reduced advertising revenues and declining readership. They may face competitors in the surrounding suburbs, along with national editions of USA Today, Wall Street Journal, New York Times and Epoch Times. There are also all news radio stations (locally such as WCBS, 1010 WINS, Bloomberg News and 101.9FM News) along with other radio stations. ABC, CBS, NBC and PBS have national network news, as do local affiliates along with local independent news broadcasts such as FOX 5, MY 9 and PIX 11, cable news stations such as News One (in NYC), CNBC, CNN, FOX, BBC and News Twelve (in Nassau/ Suffolk counties). Many get late breaking news from the Internet. This is stale when reaching print the next day. The growing population of new immigrants supports their own newspapers, radio and television stations.

These financial challenges on maintaining the bottom line have also resulted in fewer resources being devoted to investigative reporting and a greater reliance on wire service stories. As a result, original newspaper content continues to shrink. This puts even more pressure on the remaining reporters assigned to various departments.

There is intense competition between international, state, business, sports, entertainment and other sections of newspapers. It is becoming more difficult to provide real detailed coverage of local news.

I still remember the original daily Long Island Press and Long Island Star Journal which haven’t been published in decades. Prior to the NYC 1962 newspaper strike, which resulted in the closing or consolidation of several papers, there were actually twelve daily newspapers published in the Big Apple. Today, residents can select from the Times, Daily News, Post, Newsday, USA Today, Wall Street Journal or Staten Island Advance along with freebies such as AM New York and New York Metro.

There has also been major growth in weekly papers such as the Village Voice, New York Observer, Long Island Press, Dan’s Papers and dozens of others based in neighborhoods all around the five boroughs of New York City and Long Island. Neighborhood weekly newspapers like our very own Wave provide real coverage of local community news stories usually overlooked by other media. The Sunday New York Times consolidation of their former “City Section” into a “Metropolitan Section” combining the City with Long Island resulting in even less coverage of news from the five boroughs. Only the Daily News continues several days per week to publish regular borough based supplemental inserts for Queens, Brooklyn and the Bronx. Newsday concentrates on trying to include some news from Queens and City Hall. The Times and Post do what they can with limited space to include local community news stories. Only the daily Staten Island Advance can provide detailed regular local news of their borough.

There are still many like myself who have a continued thirst for news provided by either daily or weekly newspapers covering Washington, Albany and City Hall along with neighborhoods around all five boroughs.

In the marketplace of ideas, let us hope there continues to be room for everyone including the New York Times and our own Wave regardless of cost.

LARRY PENNER

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