I have been sadly watching the size of the daily newspapers gradually shrinking. I know that most of that is the result of competition with the digital world, and a publisher has to figure out what to cut out in such a way that enough people are willing to pay the increased costs for the smaller papers, and that the paper still makes a profit, or at least breaks even.
The reality is that no matter what is cut, some subscribers will cancel their subscriptions, so it has to be hard to decide what to cut. I remember when the comics were cut. There was sufficient complaining to persuade publishers to return at least the majority of the comics. I don’t remember how long ago The Salt Lake Tribune stopped providing movie theater information, but the Friday Deseret News published what was playing in most of the theaters in the valley, even the little specialty theaters. And then the movie schedules and reviews started to be reduced, and now there is no movie information at all in the Deseret News.
I am one of those people who enjoy reading letters to the editor. Yes, I also enjoy reading some of the longer articles by professionals, and the occasional long article by a local person. But I read those longer pieces after I read the little letters. I am glad that The Tribune has continued to publish several regular letters in each issue, but I am concerned that the Deseret News now prints only one or two letters in an issue, sometimes none, and I was shocked today that there were no regular letters in the Sunday Deseret News. It can’t be because there were too few qualified submissions, as the News typically publishes only one letter per writer in a month.
Yes, I know that the papers can’t please everyone. And maybe they have already done some kind of poll to see what readers like most, and what they would hate most to lose. I know that money is part of the issue. It has to be very hard to compete with the internet. But in some ways our daily newspapers are superior to the internet. I hope the papers survive for years to come.
Fred Ash, Sandy