An Open Letter to Our Colleagues at the Hudson Independent

I sent the below letter to the editor and senior management of the Hudson Independent who had sent an email to their readers telling them they weren’t printing this month because printed newspapers “cause undue risk to others.” As I point out in the letter, that is patently untrue and could cause widespread, lasting damage to the print industry. If you read printed publications, love print, advertise in print or know people who rely on print for their livelihood, please share. #LocalMediaMatters #StayStrong #supportlocalbusinesses

Dear Rick, Bob and Barrett,

As a business that’s in the same business as you, we hope you are doing okay during this challenging time.

Call us naive, but over here, we believe we all should look out for each other, especially when times are rougher than usual.

In that generosity of spirit, we thought you might like to know that no less an authority than the U.S. Postal Service has posted the following statement on its website…

“The CDC [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] and the World Health Organization [WHO], as well as the Surgeon General [of the United States], have [all] indicated that there is currently no evidence that COVID-19 is being spread through the mail.

We’re certain you’d agree that the last thing printed publications like ours want to do in a public health crisis is frighten that segment of the public who touch and read our periodicals by starting a rumor that it is somehow dangerous to do so. It unequivocally is not dangerous to read a printed periodical.

With that in mind, we are at a loss to understand your motivation for distributing a statement to the public, which we came across, that reads, in part: “Because of the limitations caused by government-imposed restrictions, and because of our own conclusion that printing and distributing a paper edition carries undue risks to others, we have chosen to publish only online this month.”

Promoting a specious supposition that 1) is patently untrue; and 2) could effectively deter people from reading other local publications (and — if this message went viral — affect hundreds of other NYPA-member publications) has the potential to cause widespread, lasting damage, not only in the short-term, but for a long time thereafter, undermining profitable businesses and livelihoods that they support.

That’s why we thought you’d find the above officially stated position of the U.S. Postal Service, CDC, World Health Organization and United States Surgeon General both credible and of pointed interest.

It will go a long way in restoring trust in what we all do if you would see fit to send an email to your list clarifying the relevant passage(s) in your statement that can do harm to our business community by making sure River Town residents know that it’s no less safe and no more dangerous to be reading print publications at this time than at any other time.

We hope we all come out of this difficult period stronger than before.

Your local media colleagues at River Towns Media

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About the Author: Alain Begun