Newspaper Subscriber Sues Paper for Cutting Staff

July 11, 2008 11:30 AM
by findingDulcinea Staff
A News & Observer customer in North Carolina says that he is just trying to send a message to his hometown paper, and to the troubled newspaper industry.

30-Second Summary

The News & Observer announced on June 16 that it was cutting 70 staff members.

Keith Hempstead, a lawyer from Durham and a former reporter, filed his lawsuit in June, saying that the paper announced cuts in staff and size soon after he renewed his subscription in May. He argues that the paper is no longer worth what he paid for it.

Hempstead says, however, that he loves The News & Observer and that although he could just cancel his subscription, his aim is to get the attention of the newspaper, as well as the larger news industry.

“I hate to see what companies that run newspapers are doing to the product,” he said. “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.”

News & Observer executive editor John Drescher argues that the newspaper is actually worth more than the 36 cents a day that subscribers pay. “In fact, he owes me money,” Drescher commented.

The News & Observer is just one of the newspapers across the country that have been shedding jobs at a rapid pace in the past few years, as the industry struggles to compete in the Internet age.

In recent months, such prominent newspapers as The Baltimore Sun, The Boston Globe, the Chicago Tribune, the Los Angeles Times, The New York Times and The Washington Post have announced major cuts to staff, as have large newspaper chains such as Cox Newspapers and McClatchy & Co.

Headline Links: ‘N&O Subscriber Sues the Paper for Cutting Staff’

Background: Decline of newspapers in America


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