TUPPER: Daily paper the best deal you'll ever find
I attended a convention a couple of years ago where a presenter told a great story about the perceived value of a newspaper.
He recalled standing in line at one of those airport terminal shops where bored travelers buy snacks, drinks, trinkets, magazines and newspapers.
He was standing in line with a few items in his hand and also grabbed a paper from a newsstand near the counter. The man next to him in line watched him grab the paper and said some condescending things. I don't remember the exact details, but it was something about a sense of amazement that anybody would still buy such a relic with nothing worth reading in it and nothing but bad news, etc., etc., etc.
Anyway, the presenter said he paused, looked the guy in the eye and deadpanned, "Well, what do you expect? They only charge a dollar."
The story got a huge laugh from the dozens of newspaper people at the conference, because we all know too well the demands that readers place on newspapers in exchange for a paltry single-copy price. I doubt there are many other businesses in the world that take so much grief for a product they sell for a buck.
Some fast-food joints, for example, brag about their dollar deals. Customers get a paper-thin slice of mystery meat on a bun, and they call it a bargain.
Consider what we give our customers for $1:
• News, sports reporting and photojournalism from Mitchell, the region, the state, the nation and the world;
• Dozens of advertisements about local products and services;
• The day's and week's weather forecast;
• A calendar of local events;
• Opinion pieces on matters of local, state, national and global concern;
• Editorial cartoons;
• Announcements about local and area births, engagements, weddings, anniversaries and other such milestones;
• Daily advice columns about household tips and health and wellness;
• Professional sports standings and box scores;
• Prices of stocks, mutual funds, corn, gold and other market goods;
• Comic strips;
• Crossword puzzles and brain-teaser games;
• Classified ads for jobs, housing, garage sales, goods for sale and more;
• Primetime television listings;
• And inserts with information about sales at local stores.
That's just a quick overview of the edition of The Daily Republic that was next to my computer as I wrote this column. It's not even close to a comprehensive list.
To bring all those things to readers of our printed newspaper six days a week, it takes an army of about 145 people -- 65 employees, including full-time and part-time, plus about 80 independent contractors involved with delivery.
Every day, we start with anywhere from 18 to 32 blank pages, and all of those 145 people scramble to fill up the pages with all of that good stuff and get it to customers by 7 a.m. the next day.
All we ask in return for a single copy is a measly dollar on weekdays, or $1.50 for the much bigger Saturday edition. If you subscribe, you pay only about 57 cents per day.
Should you expect a lot from your newspaper? Sure you should. You earn your money, and when you give it to us we should give you something valuable in return. We try very hard to do that every day.
But if you call the newspaper expensive, you'll get a polite argument from me. The Daily Republic is far from expensive. In fact, I'd say it's the best deal you'll ever find.