Hard sell for the Star

Dateline: Thu 31 Jan 2008

A reader sends this our way -- an email to the Star's big boss Dennis Ryerson:

"Dennis,

"I know you may be desperate for paid subscribers, but will you please ask the subscriptions department to quit calling my house. Two calls in three days and at least one call every two weeks is a little excessive. The Indianapolis Star is now about as worthless as Gannett stock. I can only hope that all of Bob Kravitz retirement investment are tied up in Gannett Co stock after his Dungy column."

The reader asked that his name not be used. No doubt, however, many will recognize his experience and identify with it. He suspects the Star's circulation is in free-fall, which is a reasonable explanation for this sort of relentless drive to continue. I can confirm that the paper is frequently given away in areas of the city. In the past, those freebies were followed by pushy sales calls.

Of course, everyone knows how to improve the numbers for real: hire enough journalists to staff a paper and give them the freedom to produce good, hard-hitting, well-written stories. Gannett's formula no doubt will be studied for years to come as a model of how to ruin a newspaper.

In the meantime, a couple new blogs are on the horizon, and NUVO has made a great hire. More to come.

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