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Guest Column: Is this the future of our local print media?

November 23, 2011

By Daniel Sears

Editor’s note: This article was originally a letter addressed to Peter Ricker, president/publisher of the Rockford Register Star. The writer chose to share it with us.

Dear Mr. Ricker,

On Friday [Nov. 4], after Thursday’s Cardinal victory, I received a possible “futuristic” lesson regarding the direction our local daily newspaper was taking us.

Friday morning, I retrieved our paper from the roadside paper box, went back inside to have breakfast and browse through the Register Star. I always check the Sports section first … there was a very large picture of Albert Pujols (apparently thankful or joyous). I wasn’t sure, so I looked for the caption … none, OK, look inside. I did, but did not see any reference to the picture … oh well, look again to be sure you did not just overlook it. Nope … look again … nope, go back to the picture and there is a very small “reversed” paragraph telling me to go to www.rrstar.com for details.

I phoned Mr. Ricker’s number and got his secretary (what a nice lady) and inquired about the lack of a story. She tried, but I felt she was confused also. She would ask Mr. Ricker to call.

He did. The game finished late, so the story did not make the paper. OK, but why did the Rockton edition have it, and the Roscoe edition did not? If they had gotten the picture, shouldn’t they have received the story on the same wire service? Or couldn’t someone in “prepress” have at least prepared some kind of a small caption (or story)?

We have accepted the fact that we are paying more for less, but how much less are we expected to accept?

In conversation with a friend, he said he thought he had read that most of “prepress” had been moved to a Chicago suburb, and he wasn’t positive where he had heard it, but possibly some production was coming in from “INDIA”? So much for supporting the local job market!

Mr. Ricker could not come up with a reasonable answer to my following questions:

1) I do not play on the Internet, so there is no way I could get to the story … how many “old timers” fall into this group? After over 50 years of faithful subscription, is this our thanks?

2) If I did subscribe to the Internet, can I deduct the cost of the Internet from the cost of my daily paper, which apparently no longer cares about loyal, longtime customers?

3) Why should we continue to subscribe to your newspaper, if I need another expensive service to get the daily news?

I get the feeling that the Todd family would not appreciate our current daily paper media!

Thank you, Daniel R. Sears

P.S. Please thank Mr. Ricker for taking the time to make a copy of the article and send to me.

Daniel Sears is a previous resident of Rockford who now lives in Roscoe.

From the Nov. 23-29, 2011, issue

3 Comments

  1. nobama4me

    November 25, 2011 at 11:42 am

    We said Mr. Sears. On top of this, the RRStar only allows non-subscribers to read a dozen news articles per month online. Otherwise, it blocks the story. Just having Pat Scumingham blog on that site makes me want to vomit!

  2. John

    November 28, 2011 at 11:17 am

    I complained to Ricker a few months back when the Scum-Meister went overboard, as an old man is bound to do, and blogged hate-speech.

    His response? Cunningham can do what he wants to do.

    My response? Cancelled the RRS!

  3. DCapannola

    November 28, 2011 at 3:46 pm

    Mr. Sears, times are changing with technology. It sounds like you aren’t willing to make the same changes. And the fact that you are an “old timer” is lame excuse. The RRStar did nothing wrong. They posted a picture, and directed you to the website, which had the story about the game HOURS before you got your morning paper. I am 64, almost 65. Most of my news feeds come from the Internet. Why? Because if I wait for print, I miss information. Grow a pair.

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