As I write this editorial column on Sunday, December 30, 2012, to be published on Wednesday, January 2, 2013, I have no way of knowing if you will ever read it.
As publisher, it is my job to lead this newspaper through the often times opposing views of journalism and capitalism. To do this we have to approve an annual budget, establish subscription and advertising rates, ensure all the logistics of printing and distribution are in place, and adhere to all the government’s regulations. On top of this we are expected to produce an excellent product five days a week and do so at a profit.
We should have done all this work in the latter half of 2012, but we were too busy trying to cover the election and fighting the pipeline route, so we “kicked the can” down the road until after the election. Then we spent the next seven weeks arguing amongst ourselves about the entire process. Then, we decided since it was the Holidays we would just wait until the last day of the year to do all this, so we could spend more time at home.
So today (I mentioned this was written on Sunday, December 30, 2012) I called our management team together to see if we could actually produce newspapers in 2013 and avoid the fiscal cliff we made for ourselves by not doing our jobs as our readers expected us to do in 2012.
Around the table we have Kathy Larson, our Advertising Director, Steve Moseley and Melanie Wilkinson our Managing Editor and News Editor respectively. There is Bryan Emick our Circulation/Distribution Director, Valerie Nunnenkamp who leads our Creative Department, and Eric Eckert, our Online Director. All of these individuals are instrumental in leading their departments and represent important elements to all of our readers.
I open the meeting by telling those present at the table, we need more revenue, and just like President Obama’s budget, which calls for a 64.2 percent increase in personal income tax rates over the next five years, I ask the team to raise rates by 62 percent, but that we should consider only raising subscription and advertising rates on the richest readers and largest advertisers.
Kathy Larson in sales immediately says that is not fair and balanced. Bryan Emick in circulation says we don’t know how much money our readers make so we would have to ask everyone for their tax returns to see if they should pay more.
Eric Eckert, our digital expert and Valerie Nunnenkamp suggest we cut out expenses instead. Eckert says let’s stop printing the paper and make everyone read the paper online. Nunnenkamp says let’s drop all color ads so we don’t have to print the paper in color.
Moseley and Wilkinson in our news department want us to expand the paper so we can print more news stories and more photographs.
Larson says if we raise ad rates by sixty percent that nobody will buy the ads and we will actually bring in less revenue. Emick says if we raise subscription rates by sixty percent people will cancel their subscriptions and a hundred newspaper carriers will lose their jobs.
I just want to play golf and take the family to Hawaii, and if we can’t get this done, we’ll fall over the fiscal cliff and possibly won’t be able to produce newspapers our readers deserve!
Of course none of this really happened. But if we actually ran our newspaper like Washington is running our country, I guarantee we would have readers more outraged than they are with the way our federal government is taking care of the peoples’ business right now.
We would have hundreds of York News-Times readers writing us letters to the editor and calling to cancel subscriptions. Our advertisers would be outraged and threaten to cancel advertising contracts. Our contracted carriers who are up in the middle of the night trudging through snowdrifts would picket our office in fear of losing their jobs.
Yet most of us sit idly by watching Washington mismanage our country to the point it jeopardizes our future, while placing a near insurmountable burden on our children. Where is the outrage?
Have we all given up on the notion that our country was founded on principles that the people would rule through representatives? Are you happy with the way they are doing the job we hired them to do? Have you contacted them and told them about your feelings?
All of us here at this newspaper try desperately each and every day to put out a paper that is representative of our community. We are not perfect and don’t claim to be, and when we mess up, you let us know, and you should! When our nation is in peril and your congressman, senator or president mess up, do you let them know? You should!
My resolution in 2013 is to watch our Washington, Lincoln, and York representatives like a hawk. You deserve that from your newspaper. Your job, if you choose to accept it, is to help us. Help us build by letting us publish your opinions on how well (or not so well) our elected officials (your employees) are doing.
Here, at the News-Times, Larson, Moseley, Wilkinson, Emick, Nunnenkamp and Eckert did their jobs in 2012 so we could keep our business running efficiently and profitably in 2013.
If Obama, Reid, Boehner, McConnell or Pelosi, were to apply for work at the News-Times, they would be turned down, not qualified based on poor job performance.
Sitting around the Whitehouse on the last day of the year trying to figure out how pay for a government we can no longer afford is no way to run a country, which is why we could never hire any of these national leaders. They don’t deserve to sit around a negotiating table with people of real integrity like we have here at the York News-Times.
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