Thursday, June 14, 2007

This isn't a pretty picture for publishers

Publishers of free dailies beware. If you're not careful about controlling your circulation, environmental protesters might pick up papers the public has discarded (or not picked up at all) and do a photo op like this.

In May we interviewed Justin Canning, who organized Operation Freesheet in London. His group did a "walkabout" in London on Wednesday, June 13, and collected 1,500 papers. He provided us with this picture that shows some of the papers he and other volunteers found.

"And really we could have picked up many more," Canning told "But we ran out of bags, and they were getting too heavy for us anyway. The papers were picked off the street, the bins, the tube (the subway system) -- just everywhere! Really, London between the hours of 4 and 7 is awash with free papers."
    Editorial: Even if you don't sympathize with environmentalists, wasting papers is bad for business. It's expensive, it undermines advertiser confidence and it leaves us open to bad publicity. Most newspapers are sophisticated enough to monitor how many papers are picked up at each location to ensure there is no waste. Sometimes new papers have trouble determining how many to leave, and where to leave them. We all need to do a better job reducing waste in order to avoid more pictures like this in future.