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Choices: Paper vs. Electronic --Cagle

February 2009

During the frigid early hours of February 19, 2008, Roach was making his rounds near South Bend, IN, when a car ahead of him skidded on black ice and rolled down an embankment, coming to rest upside down in a water-filled ditch. Victim Ernesto Soto crawled into his back seat in order to breathe as his car quickly became engulfed with the water, which was chest deep when Roach pried open the door.

Roach took Soto up the embankment in a minus-20 degree wind chill to his truck, where he called his office, and 911 was dispatched. Once the emergency response team arrived, Roach finished his route.

For his heroics, Roach received a Highway Angel lapel pin, certificate and patch. He was also acknowledged during the Roady’s Humanitarian Bowl college football game on December 30.

Nice work, Lenny.

PAPER CUTS: A CSR called the other day and asked if I would like to receive their major daily metro newspaper (to which I subscribe on a Sunday-only basis) for the next x-amount of weeks at no extra charge. It was a way, she said, of thanking their longtime, loyal customers. After quick, careful consideration, I said, no thank you.

The CSR was baffled. After all, who turns down something free? But, I told her that I wasn’t much of a paper reader during the week, that I wouldn’t have time to read it and didn’t want piles of newspaper to recycle (my town lacks trash/recyclables pickup, so I have to schlep it to the recycling center). What I didn’t say, though I was thinking, was that I read yesterday’s news yesterday—on the Internet.

Sadly, most newspapers give away content on their Website. Don’t fall over from shock, gentle readers. But why are they surprised when they find it difficult to even give away the printed version? They probably aren’t, truthfully.

The writing is on the wall for newspapers that don’t find creative ways to leverage electronic publishing. It’s too late to tell them to stop giving away product. National publications and large regional ones will continue to flounder; the two largest Detroit dailies have cut back home delivery to a mere three days per week. Smaller newspapers will continue to excel, to a degree, since they’re still the prime source for local news.

Still, I feel somewhat ashamed for turning my back on the industry that used to provide my livelihood. But the news business is hardscrabble, and has always taken its share of hits and bounced back.

Maybe, I’ll call them back. 

CONGRATS TO PAT: Well, I’m only about six months late on the congratulations, but I wanted to tip my hat to Patrick Henry for winning the 2008 Tom McMillan Award for Editorial Excellence. Pat truly embodies the term “gentleman and a scholar,” and is one of the most gracious and humble people I’ve met in the business. His body of work as an industry writer and educator is unparalleled.

Well done, kind sir.  PI

—Erik Cagle



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