The following letter was published in this week’s issue of the Gazette.
To the editor:
For some years we have heard that print journalism is dead, but fortunately it still keeps hanging on. Here in Croton every morning we see people reading newspapers, and that is a good thing. The problem is that a lot of people don’t want to pay for the product.
This is not a new problem. Years ago the German deli carried a selection of newspapers, and was the only place in Croton to buy Newsday. But it dropped the papers after people complained about buying papers only to find they were in poor shape. That remains true today: sometimes you can even buy a paper and find food particles dribbled by previous readers, which is gross enough without paying for the privilege.
People argue that you can read online for free. Well in that case, go online. Or go to the library, which pays to support print via the annual subscriptions. Supporting print media is particularly important in the case of local papers such as The Gazette or the Journal-New, which give us local information and a voice that we would not otherwise have, and the New York Post is at the forefront of exposing political corruption in our state.
Much as media companies have tried to monetize online journalism, the reality is that the economics are much different. Allowing our local print newspapers to fade away is going to result in a loss not only of information, but of oversight.
Our local businesses which supply newspapers are doing a service, but they are also running a business. Just last year, one Croton business stopped carrying one of our local papers. The manager explained that some people were reading and putting it back, some people were reading it and walked off “forgetting” to pay for it. He said that some weeks he lost more papers than he sold.
If you think that newspapers are important enough to take from the kiosk and read over coffee, then they are important enough to pay the 75 cents or the dollar or two. Not paying for your papers is bad enough, but making a mess of them results in nobody wanting to pay for the paper after you are done with it.
The next time you take a paper from the stack, remember that by paying for the newspaper you are not simply supporting the local business which sells the paper, you are also paying for a system which shines a spotlight on the good things going on in our community, exposes corruption, and perhaps most importantly, you are supporting the preservation of journalism for future generations.