Some weeks back I enjoyed a fine lunch put on by a global company who was expanding its operations in New Zealand. Many other journos were there and there were the usual talks about the state of the market. One respected business title is seeking staff I was told, but they only want newbies to intermediates, so they can pay them just $30-$40k a year. Of course they never think to ask whether an old timer might work 3-4 days a week for such a sum, one who is perhaps skilled enough to produce more and better work than the newbie in half the time! And there’s another well respected title that is not replacing staff who leaves, regardless of the impact on the quality of the publication. The recruitment freeze continues. Soon after, I had coffee with a guy who had been in publishing for more than 30 years. He had been made redundant by a large corporate because he disagreed with the direction of the company, and the recession gave the perfect excuse to pay him off. The old timer wanted the small provincial weekly to have a solid focus on ‘community news’. He wanted more than just filling the white space between the ads with recycled press releases. However, real news costs, and the publishers aren’t keen to pay for it, no matter how much it might cost them in the long run in not having it. I guess many of the readers of this blog have decent incomes, incomes so beloved of advertisers. So imagine how damaging it would be for you to stop reading certain titles. Indeed, I have heard so many of you say you have stopped reading certain titles because you disagreed with their left wing politics or the tabloidization of the papers, that they contained too much fluff. So here is an idea, one that may help you save your favourite papers from rampant costcutting. If you are thinking of cancelling your subscription, before you do, tell the editor or general manager of your newspaper or magazine. And please do it in large enough numbers that it will be clear to the beancounters that costcutting doesn’t work and in fact reinforces a spiral of decline. Of course, you think having gone down this route so many times before that they might have learnt by now!