Tuesday, July 13, 2021

Critics say postage-rate hike plans threaten small papers

The U.S. Postal Service's plan to raise rates threatens community newspapers already struggling from the pandemic advertising dip, according to the News Media Alliance, a trade group representing nearly 2,000 U.S. news organizations. Many small daily newspapers now circulate mainly by mail, not carriers.

Rates on newspapers and other periodicals would increase by more than 8 percent on Aug. 29. "The price jump is part of a broad plan pushed by Postmaster General Louis DeJoy to overhaul mail operations," David Bauder and Anthony Izaguirre report for The Associated Press.

The move could force publishers to reduce staff, sell papers entirely from news racks instead of providing home delivery, or could cause papers to shutter entirely, NMA senior vice president Paul Boyle said. In comments to the independent Postal Regulatory Commission, the NMA said the plans harm the public interest but do little to improve the Postal Service's financial condition.

"It is one of several nicks and slashes that can damage the bottom line, especially if you are an independent publisher who is operating at break even or in the low single digits of profitability. And most are," Penelope Muse Abernathy, a Northwestern University professor who has extensively studied the decline of the news industry, told AP.

No comments: