A Tosa resident for almost 20 years, Karen is a mom and freelance writer, addicted to playing tennis. When not on the tennis court, she spends the fall and winter in the stands at Green Bay Packer and Marquette basketball games.
Karen is the author of “Grab a Bite,” a dining out column and the former community columnist for the Wauwatosa NOW newspaper.
Apparently, I'm part of a dying breed. I am a newspaper enthusiast. Specifically, a Milwaukee Journal Sentinel enthusiast. I get mine delivered, every day of every year. And unless something is awry, I read it every single morning. It's part of my daily routine, along with coffee and feeding Millie, the world's oldest Golden Retriever puppy. (She's almost 7 years old, but nobody has told her that.)
Most of my friends used to be daily Journal Sentinel enthusiasts. Like me, the newspaper was a part of their daily routine. One by one, they're dropping like flies. They all cite similar reasons for either not reading or cancelling their daily paper. I think it's one of the causes of declining readership: Their newspaper delivery is awful.
First, let me point out that my delivery is EXCELLENT. (Knock wood.) I get my paper every day by around 5:00 am. It arrives, without fail, right in front of my front door. Even in the worst weather, I barely have to reach out the front door to grab it. It is convenient. Let me take this opportunity to profusely thank my newspaper carrier. You are, without fail, the most reliable carrier in Milwaukee and the reason why I continue to get the daily paper. The bigwigs at the Journal Sentinel should give you a raise.
My friends are not so lucky. Their delivery is spotty, inconsistent and sometimes poorly placed. What's the point of reading the paper every morning when it doesn't show up until after you've left for work or started your day? If my paper wasn't delivered until 7:30 or 8:00 am, I honestly don't think I'd read it.
Some of them also point out that the paper is left at the end of the driveway or out of reach of the front door, forcing them to decide between parading outside in their robe and jammies or just giving up and reading the headlines online at work.
Here's the thing: The daily newspaper has a LOT of competition. I'd even say that The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel competes against its own website. Some readers will, no doubt, point out that the mere existence of my blog, or any other blog, is competition to the daily paper. Perhaps it's true.
What is definitely true is that people take the path of least resistance. They want everything handed to them without much effort on their part. This describes the internet in a nutshell. It's everything you need at your fingertips. A late or poorly delivered newspaper does not do that.
You can argue all you want about the death of the printed word or you can try to make it more attractive and convenient. If newspaper delivery were guaranteed by a certain time, every day, I think subscriptions and readership would improve. If Jane Doe knew she could get her paper by 6:00 am every day, maybe she'd relax for 15 or 20 minutes with a cup of coffee and read it. Imagine that. If pizza joints can guarantee delivery by a certain time, then why can't our daily paper?
Crazy idea? Maybe. Got one of your own? Share it.