At the same time newspapers are lamenting a decline in circulation and popularity, they are contributing to it by eliminating some of their most faithful customers.
In the years I covered Lapeer County I was constantly frustrated by the reality that the Flint Journal would not, for reasons of economy, deliver newspapers - even when people really wanted it - to rural areas in the county. Mind you, these were areas that we spent time covering news events.
The answer was it cost too much to give the paper to too few people. My suggestion was that the paper try and salt the route. In other words, if you had someone who wanted the paper at the end of Boon Dock Road, give away a few free papers along the way there and see if you could pick up a few more subscribers and make the route worthwhile.
Those suggestions were dismissed out of hand. In part, because a long time ago newspapers divested itself of ownership of its own routes and turned them over to private contractors. Those contractors sometimes, and understandably, balked at taking on expensive customers. It might have been different if newspapers had maintained control over their own routes. So we voluntarily collapsed our circulation with the resulting collapse in news coverage. It's a business model that I will never understand.
The same was true of the daily paper coin boxes which are likewise controlled by independent contractors. I don't know if this is still true, by the paper box at the front door of the Flint Journal belonged to an independent contractor and at times would be emptied early in the day. That led to the ridiculous situation where people couldn't buy a newspaper at the front door of the Flint Journal (they could, of course, come inside and purchase one at the counter, but why?) and the newspaper couldn't refill it, because it didn't belong to them.
If someone really wants your product, doesn't it make sense to find a way to get it to them?
Anyway, the Flint Journal is not alone, consider the following link: