Thursday, December 17, 2009

Newspapers offer cheap subscriptions, free job-wanted ads to the local unemployed

Three newspapers in rural Georgia have developed "highly specialized economic recovery packages" for subscribers, reports the SNPA Bulletin of the Southern Newspaper Publishers Association. They're following the lead of The News-Gazette in Champaign, Ill., which announced this summer that it would offer renewable three-month subscriptions to the unemployed for $1.

The Daily Citizen, in the carpetmaking center of Dalton, was the first Georgia paper to follow suit. In late October, the Community Newspaper Holdings Inc. paper began selling the unemployed subscriptions for $1. "Interested residents needed only to bring verification to the newspaper that their home address matched the address where they were receiving their unemployment check," Sean Ireland writes for SNPA.

Publisher William Bronson wrote, “We want area residents who are experiencing difficult times to stay connected to their community . . . while also helping them find a job.” He said the 12,500-circulation paper “will be delivering these newspapers at a loss, but we feel it is more important to connect those looking for a job with those hiring as soon as possible.”

In November, The Dahlonega Nugget, a 5,400-circulation weekly southeast of Dalton, and the Times Georgian of Carrollton, an 8,000-circ. daily just southwest of Atlanta, started similar measures. The Nugget offers renewable three-month subscriptions for $1 to any local resident looking for work. “With the local unemployment rate now over 11 percent, we want to make sure that none of our readers are forced to give up their connection to the community for economic reasons,” said Wayne Knuckles, right, editor and publisher of the Community Newspapers Inc. paper. “We all have to work together to keep our community strong during these tough times, and this is one small way The Nugget can help.”

The Times-Georgian, owned by Paxton Media Group, is offering discounted three-month subscriptions for $5 to unemployed readers, and free, eight-line classified "job wanted" ads for up to two weeks at no charge. “We know many jobs sites today require a fee and might require a family to move,” said Publisher Leonard Woolsey. “We’d just like to make sure everyone fully explores the employment opportunities in Carroll County without any out-of-pocket expense to them.” He added, “Many of our subscribers and readers have supported us in the past,” Woolsey said. “We need to make sure we are there to give back in their time of need.”

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