Editor: Newspapers can’t reach ‘households headed by single women’

Journal Inquirer

Societal forces “coincide with the decline of traditional journalism just as much as the rise of the Internet does,” Chris Powell, the managing editor of the (Manchester, Conn.) Journal Inquirer writes in an opinion piece published Saturday.

Indeed, newspapers still can sell themselves to traditional households — two-parent families involved with their children, schools, churches, sports, civic groups, and such. But newspapers cannot sell themselves to households headed by single women who have several children by different fathers, survive on welfare stipends, can hardly speak or read English, move every few months to cheat their landlords, barely know what town they’re living in, and couldn’t afford a newspaper subscription even if they could read. And such households constitute a rising share of the population.

Reached by email, Powell said he is “out of the country on personal business” and hasn’t had time to look at reaction to his column. “Maybe today,” he writes.

We have made it easy to comment on posts, however we require civility and encourage full names to that end (first initial, last name is OK). Please read our guidelines here before commenting.

  • JTFloore

    CPH, i absolutely agree with you. I would never argue that there is any particular reason to think that single mothers must be illiterate. for instance, I know a single mother who has read time mag from cover to cover for decades. very bright, very informed. nor would I argue that all woman on welfare do not speak English. no, no.

  • Cydni Perkins Hudson

    JTFloore, I agree to the extent that I have known single moms who can’t afford newspapers. Also, probably a woman who can’t speak English is unlikely to subscribe to an English newspaper, so I’m with you that far. I think what we’re taking offense to is the implication that single mothers must be illiterate, or that all the women on welfare are non-English speakers. The single mothers I’ve known have been smart, feisty women who only occasionally apply for state assistance when they are desperate, and they’ve all been good ole American girls. They don’t buy newspapers because they feel they have more important things to spend their money on, not because they can’t read.

  • JTFloore

    it is obviously a sad commentary on our society, but exactly why is this tripe? why would a woman on welfare subscribe to a paper? can’t afford it. why would a woman who “can hardly speak or read English” subscribe to a paper? this is nothing new. folks like this NEVER DID subscribe to a paper.
    if newspapers were even marginally effective in explaining to potential readers exactly what they can get from newspapers in a form that’s better organized and more accessible than virtually anything else, they would be more likely to subscribe. but newspapers don’t and never have done that. ironic that a product in the communication business traditionally has communicated so poorly.

  • Barry Hollander

    Wow, this is the kind of tripe you expect from trolls in the comment section, not an editor. I thought perhaps the context was missing but no, this is embarrassing. No wonder they’re not allowing comments. Cowardice.

  • http://secondavenuesagas.com Benjamin Kabak

    The comments on the paper’s site are all moderated. I tried to post one last night but it never appeared. They’re stifling the dissent that I’m sure would follow.