Thursday, November 06, 2008

A Newspaper, A Newspaper,
My Kingdom for a Newspaper

Newspapers nowadays are always complaining about declining circulation and how they're losing readers to the internet. As a result, some have actually gone out of business, and many others are either laying off newsroom staff or offering them early retirement packages. Given this reality, you would think that newspapers would jump at any opportunity to increase circulation, however briefly.

Well, if you tried to buy a paper yesterday, hopefully you had better luck than I did.

I buy a Washington Post and USAToday every day. It's part of my routine. It's sacrosanct. If I don't have a newspaper to read between fares, I may as well not be wearing pants. Either way, things just don't feel right.

I tried to buy both papers during my usual 10 AM pit stop. The gas station was sold out, so I tried the 7-11 next door. Also sold out. Went across the street to a CVS. Again, sold out. Tried the grocery store. Sold out. Tried Starbucks. Sold out, but plenty of overpriced coffee. Went back to the metro station where there are approximately umpteen million newspaper boxes. All of them were empty.

During the course of the day I must have tried at least a dozen other places, and there simply wasn't a copy of the Post or USAToday to be found. I mentioned this to a passenger, and he had encountered the same difficulty downtown.

That was the situation yesterday here in the DC area. I'm guessing the same was true across the country.

There's general agreement that Obama's election was historic. So why didn't newspapers print extra copies? Didn't they realize that a lot more people would be looking for one, either to read for more news on the election, or to hold on to as a keepsake? Or were the newspaper employees who might otherwise have made that decision laid off last month? Perhaps a few readers might even have fallen back in the habit of buying a paper every day.

One thing's for sure: It gets really drafty driving without pants.

0 thoughtful ramblings: