An ailment for what ails newspapers

Far too much time is spent lamenting the decline of the newspaper industry. If people other than news writers really cared, the newspaper industry wouldn’t be in decline. Sad, perhaps, but true.

So let’s just file this under the “frivolous lawsuit of the day” category.

Lawyer Keith Hempstead of Durham North Carolina has filed a lawsuit against the Raleigh News & Observer because the newspaper announced the layoffs of 70 staff members and cuts in news pages after he renewed his subscription.

“I wanted to get the newspaper’s attention and the news industry’s attention,” said Hempstead, who is a former reporter at the Fayetteville Observer, adding that he loves The News & Observer.

“I hate to see what companies that run newspapers are doing to the product,” Hempstead told the newspaper. “The idea that taking the most important product and reducing the amount of news and getting rid of staff to me seems pointless to how you should run a newspaper business.”

The unspecified damages and fees he’s seeking should fix things up.

Tucked away in the newspaper article’s comments section, though, is an interesting challenge to newspapers: Just run your business the way you want government to run its.

Maybe instead of cutting staff and coverage the N&O should implement policies it advocates for the government to do. Such as increasing its price (raising taxes), increasing its payroll (as it advocates with state employees and teachers), and paying more taxes (which it advocates people and business to do). In fact, it should forgoe (sic) its sales tax exemption on papers sold in the machines and start charging sales taxes on those sales. Hey, if it works for government as the N&O steadfastly claims it will and does, why wouldn’t it work for the N&O? And maybe after the N&O runs up a sizeable legal bill defending itself against this baseless lawsuit, they will start advocating a Loser Pays system.

  • dwp4401

    Gee – Wish I had written that.