Jul 22, 2008

The customer is always right

Keith Hempstead is suing the McClatchy-owned News and Observer in North Carolina for fraud. He says that after the newspaper laid off 70 people and shrunk the print edition he's no longer getting what he paid for.

"I liken it to someone who buys a ticket to go cross country on an airline and the airline announces that they instead will be flying only to Denver versus, say, Los Angeles," Hempstead, a real estate attorney and former journalist, told Brooke Gladstone of NPR's On The Media. He said he hopes to settle suit shortly, if he gets a meeting with the paper's management and has the chance to write an Op-ed.

Gladstone then asked Hempstead what was his "main beef." Here's his answer:

They are destroying their principle product. And if they are hoping that they will be able to adapt to the Internet age with a new business model, then they are deceiving themselves, because by the time they are able to come to a new business model, they will no longer have any reporters to actually cover the news.

It boggles the mind that these great businesses are destroying themselves within. And I realized that most of those people who work in these newspapers are afraid to speak up because their job might be next. Someone has to speak out for them.

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