From JOHN REINAN: In light of your item today on the paper that’s charging 10 cents a word for political endorsement letters: a couple months ago, I sent a routine news release to the Grand Forks Herald. This is a former Knight-Ridder paper now owned by Forum Communications, based in Fargo.
I got back an email letting me know that the Herald now runs paid business briefs every Saturday, and my brief could run for $70. I sent them another brief just last week and got the same note:
Good Afternoon John,
The Grand Forks Herald publishes business briefs on a paid basis to ensure your company’s news items are published in a timely manner. The business briefs will publish in the business section of Saturday’s Herald. As an added value, your brief will be included on GrandForksHerald.com. The deadline is Tuesday at 5 p.m. to run in the Saturday edition for $70 (up to 75 words), additional words are 10¢ per word and photos are $5 each.
Did you still want to proceed?
Classified Advertising Manager
So far, I haven’t chosen to pay for a brief. They’ve gotta make a living, so I don’t begrudge them the effort. But I can’t help but think it cuts their business readers off from a potentially useful stream of information. Those little briefs often are about who got promoted, who got a new piece of business, who’s expanding their building. Things that don’t rise to the level of a staff-written story, but are useful little bits of business intelligence. And now, like me, many people will probably choose not to pay $70 to put their little bit of business intelligence out into the world.