Saturday, March 01, 2008

Examiner slammed in TV report

The Examiner and other papers have convinced a Maryland legislator to drop her plans for a "Do Not Deliver" law to fine newspapers that continue to deliver to residents who don't want them, the Associated Press reports. But a day before the compromise was reached, the Examiner's delivery problem was the focus of a highly critical piece on Washington's ABC affiliate, WJLA. (Click here to read the script of the report and see the video.)

Residents who were unsuccessful in getting the Examiner to stop delivering called WJLA's "Seven On Your Side." Reporter Ross McLaughlin illustrated the problem at the beginning of his report by dumping a pile of unwanted examiners on his desk.

"Look at this," he says, with a graphic behind him saying "Make it Stop" above the Examiner's logo. "Examiners piling up in people's neighborhoods. Residents say they are a nuisance. Some soggy, soaking wet. Also a security risk because it says 'Hey, I'm not home!'"

McLaughlin talked to residents who have been repeatedly calling the Examiner to stop the paper, and one even had a list of the times he had called. The story noted that a system designed to stop the papers from being delivered — putting a red dot on a mailbox — didn't work.

Examiner executive Michael Phelps gave the TV station an interview and promised to correct the problem. The story didn't say how he would solve the problem which has persisted since the Examiner began delivering to homes in Washington and Baltimore.

Meanwhile in Maryland, state legislator Tanya Shewell (right) told the AP that she will pull her bill to fine newspapers that repeatedly deliver unrequested newspapers after four publications, including the Examiner, promised to change their ways.

The papers would put their phone numbers in 12 point bold font on the second page of their publication and increase their supervision of carriers.

“We’re certainly not out to hurt businesses, but we do need to answer constituents’ concerns,” said Shewell.