Price protection has also been crucial for small magazines, helping them to add politically and socially diverse voices to the public arena. "In short, the post office and press together constituted the most important mechanism for the dissemination of public information at least until the Civil War," Richard B. Kielbowicz writes in his book "News in the Mail: The Press, Post Office, and Public Information, 1700-1860s."
“At least until the Civil War”! The Civil War?? Now there is some example of relevance! The press of that era confronted the pesky intrusion of high technology in the form of the Morse telegraph, which was demonstrated in 1844.
Now, of course, there's the Internet, which makes publishing seem easy and cheap.
Thanks for the reminder. I almost forgot about that! So many things have changed since the Civil War it's hard to stay current. Except that the Globe’s 1-word hedge turns a fact into a fiction. The Internet does not make publishing seem easy and cheap. It makes publishing easy and cheap. No weasel-wording will change that fact.
But as The Nation's president, Teresa Stack, says, mailing out copies to paying subscribers is still largely how small magazines make money.
And this is how certain declining newspapers make a portion of their revenue. Except that they can’t afford the high cost and slowness of the postal service so they rely on
illegal immigrants independent contractors instead to distribute their product.
Web content is often an extra that doesn't generate income. Without income these publications can't survive, and the public loses out when those voices are silenced.
One can see why this sentiment might resonate in the offices of the Globe. But it is pure sentiment, entirely free of logic. Those whose "voices are silenced" are exactly where? Thanks to the Internet, there is more being written, published, and read today by more people than ever before! The Nation (like the Boston Globe) sees an erosion of its share of the market for readers that combined with increasing costs threatens its existing business model. In response it solemnly intones that “voices are silenced”. This is what people refer to impolitely as “bullshit”.
And now comes time for the Globe’s normal form of solution:
Congress should take a fresh look, and pursue a more public-minded rate plan. The post office is no longer a federal agency, and it does have to support itself. But the country still needs a mail service that protects public access to as much information as possible.
"A mail service that protects public access to information"? Today anyone who can get to an Internet connection has access to far more and more diverse information and viewpoints than at any time in human history. And speaking of trends in mail service, Globe editors, there is some new high tech thingy called "e-mail". That little "e" in the front stands for electronic. This may be big someday.
Insisting that it doesn’t want further subsidies for the post office, the Globe asks Congress to impose postal rate structure where high-volume magazines (mailed paper magazines, that is) pay more postage and low-volume magazines pay less, relative to the cost providing postal service to them. Forget the fact that high-volume publications can reduce the costs incurred by the postal service in ways that low-volume mailers cannot. This is called an economy of scale, of course -- a concept probably not worth trying explain to newspaper editors foolish enough to write and publish an editorial as laughable as this one.