Poor Product and Service

Poor Product and Service

We recently received our yearly renewal notice for your newspaper, The Observer Charlotte.

In August of 2017, my wife and I moved to Mooresville. I had grown up in Kannapolis, and she was willing to re-locate here for me to be nearer family after an absence of fifty years. While living in the Washington, D. C. area, we had always subscribed to The Washington Post and The Northern Virginia Daily, a small local paper in the Shenandoah Valley. Both satisfied our wants and needs by their reporters and columnists of national and local news. So, when we moved here I told my wife how great The Charlotte Observer was, and I immediately subscribed with it for a year.

Growing up in Kannapolis during the 1950’s and most of the 1960’s, I viewed the Observer as a major newspaper, a source of news of all types. While we had a small local paper during those days, it was the Charlotte paper that I read for substance.  I looked forward to the local “sob sister” Kays Gary, who wrote lovingly and well of his town and its citizens.  Each week the paper carried Jim Bishop, whose columns always had sage advice for a growing boy.  The weekly columns of Sidney J. Harris challenged by thought and word, and I still have a clip from one of his columns: “The best advice for a young writer is: If you have something to say don’t worry about style; if you have nothing to say, not all the style in the world will suffice.” I remember having to look up suffice in the dictionary. All this and more was delivered each day, all for the taking.

Now, I am fully aware of the power of the Internet and its influence on print of all types. However, I suggest that the only way to keep at bay the Internet is to offer a better product and service, or at least the service of those old days.  Thus, here are my non-professional suggestions for the Observer to improve its product:

  • Keep the Panthers and all sports in the sports section-yes, I know the two teams are worshiped by many, but not all readers are interested in every muscle pull of an over-paid man. By the way, there are more sports than NASCAR, b-ball, and football, and their fans live in the area.
  • Reduce the pages of comics to one-one good page is better than two ordinary ones
  • Pay for nationally syndicated columnist each day-why force your readers to go to the  Internet to read Pitts or Will or  Parker or others?
  • Retain the good writes of local interest such as Maddalon and Thomas and others who put a light on local issues
  • Control the paid obituaries: the revenue must be good, but so much print of any deceased person is over the top
  • How about a weekly column by a current religious leader, or a column written by different religious leaders each week?
  • National news belongs on the front page and in the front section-I can read, if I desire, about the local crime before I scan the classifieds.
  • More quality photographs exhibiting local interest. Charlotte has much, use pics to show it.
  • Delivery for us is an issue. Over the past year, we have had no delivery, and a constant slew of papers being tossed into the ditch instead of being placed in the official paper box.
  • Respond to readers. I wrote Mr. Mahone to welcome him to the paper. Nothing at all. How thoughtless. He could learn from Taylor, Peter, and others.

Family members told me last August that the Observer lacked, and they did not subscribe for many reasons. I didn’t believe them. Sadly, now I do and will renew for Sunday only for what I see as an example of a good daily newspaper. The product now, in my mind, is not worth the  almost $300 a year price, but it could be.

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