The Star—Tribune of Minneapolis (my original home town) is an embarrasingly bad newspaper. How bad? Well, many employees are unwilling to pay for discount (25 cent) copies, now that management has stopped handing them out for free at headquarters, according to Jim Romanesko, who has in hand a memo posted on the in—house message board:
by Steve Alexander, senior vice president, Circulation
April 10, 2006 — Three weeks ago we converted employee copies of our newspaper to an electronic e—mailed version that is very easy to access from a computer. As Publisher Keith Moyer said then, taking advantage of electronic distribution is a way we can save a considerable sum of money while still providing employees with a complete newspaper every day for personal use.
The transition has gone very smoothly and I thank all of you for your part in that. There has been one unfortunate and unacceptable byproduct of the switch — employees are stealing print copies from the vending boxes that we placed throughout our buildings as a convenience for those who still want a print copy. A single daily single copy can be purchased for 25 cents and a Sunday single copy for $1. Employees, by the way, also can and should take advantage of a half—price discount on home delivery subscriptions — the cost of which, if you prefer, can be deducted from your paycheck.
During the first week that the additional on—site racks were in service, 43 percent of the Star Tribunes removed from those racks were not paid for. For the second week the rate was 41 percent.
This is called "pilferage" in our business; but put more plainly, it is theft, pure and simple.
Taking more than one newspaper from a rack when you have only inserted enough money for one paper is unacceptable and will not be tolerated. Employees who steal newspapers will put their jobs at risk.
There is zero tolerance when it comes to stealing from our company, even if it is a 25—cent newspaper. And I encourage our hundreds of honest employees who observe co—workers stealing newspapers to challenge them on the spot to refrain from doing so.
Our industry is operating in a challenging climate with substantial marketplace pressure to bring costs in line with revenue. We owe it to our shareholders to find ways to manage expenses, while we owe it to our readers and advertisers to do so without impacting the quality of our content, products and services. Electronic copy delivery is just one great example of how to do so.
Thank you for your support.
When your product is produced by thieves who don't think it is worth even a discount price, I would say your business is in trouble.
Thomas Lifson 4 11 06