I’ve been trying to find out how widespread this is, but to no avail. Recently I learned that The Patriot Ledger of Quincy, a Gannett daily and, back in the misty past, one of the best medium-size papers in the country, is going to end home delivery and switch to the postal service instead.
What this means for print customers is unclear. You’d think there’s no way they will receive that day’s paper until the next day, or possibly the day after, although, as you’ll see in the message below, the Ledger is promising same-day mail delivery. Of course, this comes on top of the pending closure of 19 Gannett weeklies in Massachusetts, the end of Saturday print editions at many of the dailies, and numerous other cuts — including at the Ledger itself, which will switch from a print paper to an e-edition on Mondays.
As best as I can tell, the move to the USPS is being rolled out slowly at a few Gannett dailies here and there. It doesn’t seem like an all-at-once sort of thing. For instance, when I plugged some of the language from the Ledger announcement into Google, I discovered that Gannett switched to mail delivery at The Ithaca Journal of New York and The Banner-Press of Brenham, Texas, in December. I’m not coming up with others, but that doesn’t mean they’re not out there.
The message to Patriot Ledger subscribers, from a post office box in August, Georgia, was provided to me by a customer who lives in Quincy. It’s hard to see much good in here given that Gannett continues to cut its newsrooms and its coverage. It’s also very bad news for the paper’s loyal newspaper carriers; I reproduce a message from one of them below.
I have to say, though, that there are a few things in here that sound interesting. Ledger subscribers will be able to access any Gannett e-edition in the country, including the flagship USA Today. I might just get a digital subscription to USA Today if it means I can access other Gannett papers. Here’s most of the message:
The Patriot Ledger has been a vital part of the fabric of our community since its inception, bringing readers the reliable, local and passionate journalism you know and expect. While our commitment remains steadfast, we want to inform you of changes to your subscription.
Labor shortages have impacted newspaper deliveries across the country including the area and we want to make sure that your paper delivery is consistent. Beginning May 3, 2022, we will no longer provide home delivery of The Patriot Ledger. Delivery of your newspaper will continue and be provided via the U.S. Postal Service. The last day of home delivery will be May 2, 2022. You can expect delivery of your newspaper at the same time as your daily mail service. There will be no change to your current subscription rate.
Additionally, with more of our readers engaging with our content online, we are announcing a bold step towards our digital future. Beginning May 9, 2022, The Patriot Ledger will transition from delivering the Monday print edition to providing you a full Monday electronic edition (e-Edition), a digital version of our newspaper, available to you early morning. With the exception of Monday, you will continue to receive the print edition via USPS according to your delivery schedule.
As a loyal subscriber, we understand this change will impact you, which is why we are taking every step to ensure you have easy access to the news, sports, events and information you value most.
While a printed newspaper once was the sole means of accessing news and information, we offer many ways to connect with The Patriot Ledger. Your subscription includes unlimited digital access to patriotledger.com, where our team of journalists post updates and breaking news throughout the day, as well as our mobile apps, video, newsletters and the e-Edition….
Your local e-Edition also includes bonus magzines on various topics of interest and the full edition of USA TODAY. For quick tips on how to navigate the e-Edition visit patriotledger.com/eeditiontips.
As we make this transition, we are adding additional benefits to your subscription!
• Ad-free, 24/7 access to our USA TODAY Crossword puzzle! You can enjoy daily games by visiting puzzles.usatoday.com or through the USA TODAY Crossword app available on your iPhone or Android device.
• Universal access to all e-Editions throughout the USA TODAY Network in cities across the country, accessible via your own e-Edition. To access other newspapers, once inside the e-Edition, simply click on the icon titled Universal on the right-side navigation bar….
Thank you for your continued loyalty and support of our community-focused journalism.
So, is Gannett really making this move because of problems with its home-delivery network? Perhaps. But another Ledger customer sent me a message he received recently from a carrier who’s now out of work. Here it is:
Hello; I am writing to inform you that as of May 2, 2022, I will no longer be delivering your Patriot Ledger. The Parent company of the Patriot Ledger is the Gannett Company, they decided in their ultimate wisdom to get rid of all the Patriot Ledger Paper Carriers.
The Gannett Company has decided that they would rather pay more to have their paper delivered by the United States Postal Service. The average pay for a Patriot Ledger carrier is around $1.20 for 6 days papers (that is for all 6 days deliver $1.20). The USPS will be charging far more than this rate.
At the beginning of the pandemic, I was told that I was essential worker, and I delivered the Patriot Ledger throughout Covid every day. And now that things are getting a little better, for some reason that is beyond me, my job has been eliminated. I have enjoyed all your friendships all along the way. I feel fortunate for having the opportunity to meet you all. And hope that I also helped you by delivering your paper on time and where you wanted it.
The Patriot Ledger is also going to a 5-day newspaper, Tuesday Thru Saturday. They are stopping Monday deliveries. Gannett has continued to cut services and they are now saying to their customers you will no longer have your weekday Patriot Ledger at the time you have been receiving it and you will NEVER have your Saturday paper by 8:00am.
Many of the Patriot Ledger Carriers have been with the Patriot Ledger for many years, some for well over 20 years. We had our legally signed contracts with the Gannett Company voided because the contract has always been written in favor of the Company.
I have met the nicest guys that are also doing routes husbands, fathers, grandfathers, and ladies that have delivered the Patriot Ledger longer than most of the men. I have met the nicest customers because of this route too. Have enjoyed your friendships and your many kindnesses and gifts.
I want to say it has been a pleasure delivering your Patriot Ledger, and I will miss the friends I have made over these many years. For a while both our kids were in the Military and they also were deployed to the Middle East at the same time. This very route helped me to keep my mind off everythig too. They are both thankfully home.
Your Patriot Ledger Carrier.
Do you know of other daily newspapers that are dropping home delivery in favor of mailing it out? Please let me know in the comments.