In response to my distaste for early-morning Black Friday shopping, a commenter asks whether I would turn down on principle an ad from a retailer proclaiming an early-morning sale. The major chain retailers who specialize in such sales rarely advertise with local independents like us, but if they did, my answer would be, "Of course we'll take the ad." Just because I'm trying to talk the world into being a certain way doesn't mean I want to stop other people from trying to talk the world into being some other way. And they are welcome to pay me to get their message out.
A sterner test of principles came just last week. As reported here earlier, Town Pump has contracted with Lee Enterprises to control distribution of free publications in its stores. That contract, which went into effect today, is too rich for our blood, so you will no longer find the Outpost in any Town Pump locations.
As noted in the earlier post, Town Pump's decision does not mean that it won't continue to try to get free publicity from The Outpost for its various events. Just last week, in the very first issue that didn't go to Town Pump stores, we had a news release from the company about its charitable efforts.
Nice deal for the Town Pump people. We donate free space in the newspaper so they can tout their own generosity, then they expect us to pay them to distribute that free publicity in their stores. When I first heard that Town Pump had cut a deal with Lee, I thought, I will have to think long and hard before I ever run another free news release for Town Pump.
And I did think long and hard. But I ran it, even though the Town Pump customers it would most likely influence won't see it, at least not at the Town Pump. If any principle underlies this outfit, it's that advertising considerations don't influence news considerations. For the editor in me, that's an easy call. But the publisher in me raised holy hell.
Still, the editor did the right thing. So turn the temperature in Hell down a degree for me, will you?