Dear Oprah, why do you want to kill newspapers?


« Your Newspaper

by Todd Franko   | 340 entries


Dear Oprah:

Have you lost your soul? My mom thinks you have — and she’s your biggest fan.

I just think you’ve lost your memory.

Let me help you a bit. This was a news report last November:

“The Chicago Sun-Times reported that it printed an additional 350,000 papers Thursday after popular talk show host, Oprah Winfrey called the paper's Nov. 5 edition "The best paper in the world" on her show. The paper had already printed 500,000 copies the day before.  

You even had a Sun-Times guy on your show. Click here if you need a refresher.

So what the heck happened Thursday?

You let financial guru Suze Orman come on your show and tell your audience to cancel their newspaper subscriptions to save money.

Let me remind you of your audience: They do what you say.

I know. I have a wife, a mother and at least one sister-in-law who all follow your every move. My mom has a bookshelf in her house that should be labeled ”Oprah’s Bookshelf.” You wave it; she reads it.

After the Dow and Wal-Mart, you are the No. 3 economic force in America.

You so influence the lives of these women that I’ve been dying for an episode entitled “Mrs. Franko, it’s time for you to go back into the workforce” because my chats with my wife are certainly not working.  

What will you do if your fans go out today and cancel their newspaper?

Here’s an irony: Had this show aired in October, and your audience listened to you, you might not have had a Chicago Sun-Times in November to wave on TV to proclaim “the best paper in the world.”

I know you were in a pickle Thursday.

Suze’s nice and she’s tough. When my mom and my wife can’t watch you on TV, they watch Suze. So for them, Thursday was the female equivalent of the Super Bowl.

“Ma — bring extra guacamole; Oprah and Suze are on together. And some Bud Light.”

But you’re tough, too. I saw you when you walloped that author, James Frey. Overnight, he went from everywhere to nowhere.

With Suze, you would not have had to have been that tough. I do not want Suze to disappear like Frey. My mom and wife would not be happy. I prefer them happy.

Thankfully, they like when I am happy. What they would have liked you to do is stop Suze and talk about your fondness for newspapers, how in November, you had a newspaper guy on your show.

They would have also liked you to tout:
• the bad guys that newspapers go after when others can't or won’t.
• the resource newspapers are for common citizens when they have a concern.
• the family news that is showcased daily — from births to weddings to school honor rolls.
• the daily scrapbook newspapers are for communities across the country.

I could continue, but here’s what I ask:

Let me and four of my newspaper friends come on your show and put a face to the role of newspapers.

Others are stepping in to save newspapers. Colleges are creating newspaper cooperatives with their local paper to bolster dwindling resources. In Washington, one senator wants to allow newspapers to have a non-profit status. Heck, France is even considering government funding to support newspapers.

You can help, too.

While Suze was helpful in trying to help folks save a few bucks, the long-term impact of her advice is catastrophic. We will gladly show you.

My dream of coming on your show ends similarly to that car episode you had several years ago. You would jump up and down on the stage proclaiming:

You get a paper ..

And you get a newspaper ..

And you get a newspaper ..

And you get a newspaper ..

And you get a newspaper ..

And you get a newspaper ..

And communities across America would continue to be served by the one industry that’s stayed by them longer than cars, computers and daily talk show hosts.

Your friend and fan,

Todd Franko
The Vindicator
Youngstown, Ohio

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