Wednesday, July 17th, 2024 Church Directory

Klobuchar urges USPS to address burden on local newspapers

U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) sent a letter to United States Postal Service (USPS) Postmaster General Louis DeJoy expressing concern over recent policy changes and rate hikes affecting local and rural newspapers. 

In July, the USPS eliminated the use of sack containers for newspapers and other periodicals and will now only accept newspapers delivered in bulkier containers. These new containers are more labor intensive to organize and handle as well as more expensive, creating a serious burden on local newspapers.

“Local newspapers in Minnesota have found this new policy to be overly burdensome, especially those serving rural communities,” Klobuchar wrote. “Rural newspapers have informed me that this new rule has increased the number of containers needed to deliver the same number of newspapers, and some now require additional trucks to deliver their newspapers to local post offices for distribution.”

“Minnesotans depend on local newspapers not only to find out the weather forecast or who won the big high school sports game, but also to keep them well-informed about local issues and hold local government officials accountable. USPS’s new rule and rate hikes have real impacts on local newspapers delivery, and local journalism and their subscribers are already paying the price,” continued Klobuchar. “I urge you to address these burdens on local newspapers and ensure that the United States Postal Service is a viable, affordable delivery service for independent newspaper distribution so that the local newspapers that rely on the postal service can continue to serve their communities.”

The full text of the letter is below:

 Dear Mr. DeJoy:

 I write to share concerns raised by my constituents about the impacts of the United States Postal Service’s (USPS) recent policy changes and rate hikes on local newspapers.

 USPS recently eliminated the use of sack containers for newspapers and other periodicals and will now only accept newspapers delivered in bulkier containers that are more labor intensive to organize and handle. These containers are also more expensive. Local newspapers in Minnesota have found this new policy to be overly burdensome, especially those serving rural communities.

 Rural newspapers have informed me that this new rule has increased the number of containers needed to deliver the same number of newspapers, and some now require additional trucks to deliver their newspapers to local post offices for distribution. While USPS has responded to some of these concerns by suggesting that sacks can be used if organized onto pallets for delivery, many rural post offices do not have loading docks or the necessary equipment to unload and receive pallets. This new rule is being implemented at a time when newspapers are already grappling with USPS’s 30 percent delivery rate increase since January 2021, including an increase of more than 8 percent earlier this month.

 Local newspapers are already facing an existential crisis with ad revenues plummeting, newspapers closing, and many rural communities becoming “news deserts’’ without access to local reporting. Minnesotans depend on local newspapers not only to find out the weather forecast or who won the big high school sports game, but also to keep them well-informed about local issues and hold local government officials accountable. USPS’s new rule and rate hikes have real impacts on local newspapers delivery, and local journalism and their subscribers are already paying the price. The United States Postal Service should be helping these local newspapers reach their communities, not making it more difficult for them to do their critical work.

 I urge you to address these burdens on local newspapers and ensure that the United States Postal Service is a viable, affordable delivery service for independent newspaper distribution so that the local newspapers that rely on the postal service can continue to serve their communities.