Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Free Markets versus Government Subsidized and Controlled Monopolies ... Newspapers and News

Free markets are all about innovative entrepreneurs finding new ways of doing old things. The result of creating the new way of doing is often the elimination of the old way of doing those things.

Government monopolies don't engage in what Joseph Schumpeter called the process of "creative destruction." Therefore, the post office pretty much functions as it has for many decades. So do the public school system, Medicare and Social Security systems.

By preventing higher quality and lower cost, aka more productive, methods from entering the buy-sell equation, monopolies become antiquated, costly and wasteful compared to the "could and should be" state of doing things. Through government intervention and the passage of time, what "is" isn't what "ought" to be.

Newspapers and delivering the news are a great example of the out with the old, in with the new process of dynamic private sector improvement in contrast to the stasist government approach.

Newspapers in Syracuse and Harrisburg, Pa, to End Daily Distribution highlights the enormous change in how the news is delivered today and sets the stage for what may become tomorrow's norm. 

Of course, the newspaper industry won't make that determination. Free consumers making free choices about MOM and their abundance of differing opportunities for getting the news will do that.

In any event, here's what the aforementioned article has to say about the old and the as yet undetermined but evolving new way of getting the news:

The Patriot-News, which won a Pulitzer Prize for coverage of the Penn State sex scandal, intends to print three days a week.
The Patriot-News, which won a Pulitzer Prize for coverage of the Penn State sex scandal, intends to print three days a week.

"Newhouse Newspapers, which earlier this spring announced that it would stop printing a daily paper at The New Orleans Times-Picayune and its Alabama newspapers, said it would end the daily distribution of two more of its newspapers, The Post-Standard in Syracuse, and The Patriot-News in Harrisburg, Pa.

The papers will merge their content with local news Web sites and deliver the printed newspaper only three days a week.

Starting in January, The Post-Standard will publish on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays. The Syracuse Media Group, the company formed to oversee The Post-Standard, is still considering whether to publish a newspaper that it would not deliver to homes and businesses on the other four days.

The news prompted more than 100 comments by readers on the Web site who expressed their concerns about life without a daily newspaper.

One reader wrote: “If we lose the ‘fourth estate’ which slowly appears to be diminishing, government at all levels will run wild. Hopefully, the new business model will work and I would be willing to pay a reasonable fee to retain local reporting.”

It’s even less clear what the future publishing schedule looks like for The Patriot News. According to the Web site, executives still have not decided what days they will publish a newspaper (other than Sunday) and are doing more research on what are the best days to print. But they plan to introduce a new publishing schedule in January.

John Kirkpatrick, president and publisher of The Patriot-News, wrote in a letter to readers that he planned to increase the amount of online coverage and continue producing higher quality journalism. “The plan to reinvent ourselves into a digitally focused organization with a quality print product three days a week is aimed at making sure that kind of work continues long into the future,” Mr. Kirkpatrick wrote.

Sara Ganim, a Patriot-News crime reporter who won a Pulitzer Prize for her coverage of the Penn State scandal, shared details about the announcement from a live meeting for the newsroom on Twitter. She said the paper planned to keep just as many pages, only condensed into three days. But it appeared that many details still had to be worked out.

Ms. Ganim wrote: “There are unanswered? s. price of paper, which days will publish, no. of positions, organization mode.”

While readers lamented the end of their daily paper on, they also pleaded with executives at the new publishing company to improve the quality of the Web site.

One reader wrote, “I hope before this begins (January) that you do something about the bouncing when you scroll down a page, the LONG time for opening a page and general confusion on some pages. My PC is up-to-date and high-speed, so that’s not the problem.”

David Farre, editor of, told readers that there will be improvements to the Web site soon."

Summing Up

Free speech is alive and well.

In the news industry, so is freedom of choice.

Thus, improvements in quality, cost and delivery will occur continuously in the news delivery systems such as hard print, TV, radio and the internet.

Consumers will be the winners and determine the ones who get to deliver us the news.

Technology is a great tool when used by entrepreneurial innovators trying to serve customers in better ways.

Postal delivery, public schools and colleges, medical care, retirement funding and a whole host of other monopolisitc government knows best, stuck in the mud, subsidized government sponsored entities wouldn't last long in their current form in a free market ruled by free choosing consumers.

Maybe we ought to try a little more freedom and a little less government, especially since we can't afford to keep going the way we're headed. Broke.

Thanks. Bob.

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