Grass Valley, CA The Nevada County Scooper has intercepted a series of secret memos between The Union newspaper and its parent company Swift Communications. The memos detail plans to extort more money from its fixed-income, aging demographic.
After the success of pulling the TV Guide from The Union and then up-selling the Sacramento Bee’s TV Guide for $1 per issue, publisher Jim Hemming has posed an even bolder plan. He has queried HQ about making the obituaries and police blotter another pay-more special section.
According to Hemmings’ memo: “Obituaries and the police blotter are naturals. They’re two of the most popular and cheapest to produce items in a newspaper. We could get an intern to do it. And for visual interest, we could even add pictures of kittens and puppies and abused horses up for adoption, always a winner with the elders. This could be a real revenue generator.”
In the memo, Hemming reported he consulted with his editorial staff about the idea.
“They voted it down unanimously, but what do they know? They’re just reporters. All they talk about is ethics and accuracy. They don’t understand business,” he wrote dismissively.
Swift CEO Billie Hearst Blye gave Hemmings permission to go forward with a full-fledged business feasibility study. Her memo concluded: “Your record of cutting costs and increasing revenues without adding value to The Union has greatly enhanced the profits of Swift Communications. You are to be commended and you will be pleased to know the board has voted to take out tar-and-feather insurance on you.”