(I cannot make these things up, I really can't.)
This past Friday, nestled in the back of the Calender section was a column that practically begged readers not to drop their subscriptions. The column, attributed to a Commander Coconut, said the following:
"There's a lot of talk about canceling subscriptions, which, in my opinion, will make things worse. My dad had a couple of daily subscriptions when I was a kid, plus the Chicago Sunday papers, so I could no more live without a daily fix than I could live without breathing -- even if the Sentinel is whittled down to eight pages total, which it may be if too many people cancel. This is when we need your support. We're struggling for our lives and our livelihoods. No papers? Who would be the government watchdog? Who would compile the obits? How would you keep up with the arts?
I'm hoping gas prices have hit their high, and I'm hoping that newspapers have hit their low."
What? Okay, the last time I checked the Orlando Sentinel was a business (especially after it was privatized) and the readers were consumers. Consumers demand, businesses supply. Not the other way around. When a business offers less (or a lesser quality) of its product at a proportionally higher price (or any price), people demand less of this product. Therefore, if you are a newspaper who is dwindling in size or content, you cannot expect consumers to continue to purchase your product.
Now, obviously a city newspaper is useful to the city, but that same city is useful to that same paper. It's a symbiotic relationship. The city owes the paper no great debt, but if the Orlando Sentinel wants great support from city then it does owe something.
Note: I've heard that Commander Coconut is not a current member of the paper's staff (he just has his own column), but the Orlando Sentinel ran this column and it was in their paper- so it's theirs.
Another thing that belongs to the Orlando Sentinel is the non-truth that Dana Eagles, Staff Development and Investigations Editor, told me last Friday. I haven't mentioned it until now, but I paid the Orlando Sentinel a visit last Friday (although I didn't make it any farther the lobby) and had a nice phone chat with Mr. Eagles. In this conversation, Mr. Eagles blatantly told me that he was not the person (and never was the person) to speak to if one must speak with someone about the changes at the Sentinel. Yet, a few weeks earlier a memo explicitly stated this:
"Below you will find a Q&A we have created for your use in dealing with readers/subscribers who may call or write about the redesigned Sentinel...Dana Eagles will be the point person for a complainer who MUST speak with someone else."
He tried to shove me off to the human resources and marketing spokesperson, I clearly wanted to speak with other than her (i.e.: someone else). He didn't want to speak with me, seemingly because I had questions. Yeah, he sounded like he was from a newspaper that needs my support.
Not long, after this visit (more on that later) I found out I'd pretty much been blacklisted from the paper. Apparently, when Charlotte Hall decides you are a speck, unworthy of speaking to her, the whole paper follows suite. But, the paper does still need my support... right?