A couple of weeks ago I subscribed to our local newspaper, the Otago Daily Times (ODT).
Ever since I left home back in the early 90’s, I had a newspaper delivered to where ever I lived, even as a student.
Part of the morning routine was to get breakfast on the go wander down the driveway and pick up the paper, reading most of it before work.
In 2008 two things occurred to force a change of habit; studying for the Project Management Institute (PMI) Project Management Professional (PMP) exam and my loss of income from reduced hours at work as the global financial crisis affected the customers of where I worked at the time.
Fortunately, the ODT puts most of their news on their web site and also, my place of work kept up their subscription. It is the “go to” place for all our local news, excluding the likes of Facebook local pages and groups.
Fast forward to 2020 and having to work from home during COVID-19 Lockdown Level 4. Level 4 has meant that most businesses just can’t trade like they used to. They have to be deemed “Essential” and that has caused confusion if you aren’t a supermarket or health provider and pretty much stalled the economy. If you can’t sell your products and you revenue has been hammered then there is no point in advertising in print or any other media for that matter.
I value quality reporting. We need the media to report what is happening, especially now with so many state controls over what we can do, how we do it, who we are with and when we can do it. The Fourth Estate is vital and not just at a national level as local government usually effects more us at a closer and day to day level. Rumour has it that our local government organisations are very wary of how their decisions will appear in the local media.
So, in order to support local reporting, I’ve taken out a three month subscription, just to get through the current situation. This gets us six home deliveries a week and the online version, which actually looks better than expected. Hopefully my small act helps in some way to keep the paper going, though I’m sure that there will need to be funding from somewhere to offset the loss of advertising revenue.
If the funding comes from the state, well, that creates a problem in that there could be difficultly in criticising the government or “biting the hand that feeds”.
Hopefully, Level 4 is removed soon with businesses able to get working and advertising so the media can keep operating and providing us the news we need.
In the meantime, I’ll get used to the new, old routine of having the paper to read at morning tea time while working from home. One good side effect of all this is that the pet rabbit and guinea pigs have some really good linings for their hutches.