Dear Gannett: Can You Fool Most Of The Newspaper Readers Most Of The Time?

For years, reading the Des Moines Register Sunday edition was an event. The six-page comics section (now four), the “Big Peach” sports section (now regular newsprint), even a special “Picture” magazine created especially for Iowa readers.

All the character of the newspaper has been eliminated. The corporate mother ship beams down more cost-cutting orders, with little care or concern over what Iowans want or need.

The latest lunacy? Once, the newspaper offered a week of TV listings for all area stations.

Someone was forced to write that a “new and improved” TV section is available. Now, get a full-color glossy cover. A horoscope. Puzzles!

Newspaper subscribers will need to pay $39 a year MORE to continue getting these TV listings. If you don’t subscribe to the paper (such as a newsstand purchaser), a separate subscription would be even more.

My heart goes out to the copywriter assigned to sell this smelly situation to readers. The cliché “new and improved” doesn’t justify the shell game of giving less for a bigger pricetag. Meanwhile, I predict more staff cuts at a once-proud newspaper. Just slap the “Des Moines” label on an outsourced, generic edition and watch the profits soar, right?

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