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Also not happy — but supportive and thankful


To the editor:

In response to, “Not happy with the upcoming changes at the Quill,” (June 23) well, neither am I. However, I completely understand the need for these changes. Quite simply, as in many things in life, it comes down to money.

Newspapers worldwide have seen huge drops in revenues in this digital age. I am surprised the Quill was able to hang on as long as it has.  

“Not Happy” complains about the quality of the Quill, the spelling and grammatical mistakes, lack of content, and the price — $140 a year. That’s a whopping $11.67 a month, or $2.69 a week. When you consider the cost of staff, paper, ink, and delivery, that sounds pretty darn cheap.  

In a small town, we don’t have the luxury of having economies of scale. The Quill doesn’t have millions of subscribers who provide revenue, which also means it cannot charge as much for advertising as big-city papers — which also are struggling. If you want more content and higher quality, that means more staff, which would mean the Quill would have to raise prices to stay in business. It is, after all, a business, not a charitable organization. Nor does it receive public funding.  

As a Mizzou journalism graduate, I have been extremely impressed by many of the reporters over the years. Sure, there have been a few who were less impressive, but that’s inevitable at a small town newspaper. I think we are very fortunate to have the staff that currently writes for the Quill.

I have always preferred print over electronic publications, but the days of killing trees to make paper are slowly coming to an end. That’s a good thing, unless you sell trees, ink, or printers for a living. It also means our landfills won’t fill up as quickly, which will leave more room for all of the plastic bottles we discard because we can’t be bothered to fill a thermos or cup.

So, Ms. Not Happy, if you want a better paper, delivered to your door every day of the week, you could move to Los Angeles, or New York, or any other large city. You might want to hurry, because they eventually may have to shift to digital. And you should be prepared to pay a LOT more than $140 a year. Or, perhaps you could start a GoFundMe page for the Quill. Or, volunteer your skills as a proofreader. Or, at the very least, be a decent human and be thankful we have a local paper, and be mindful of the fact that real people work at the Quill. People with feelings, and with families.

To the staff of the Quill, I say thank you. Thank you for realizing that you have to change with the times to survive, and for being willing to try something you probably knew would make some people unhappy. Thank you for your persistence and dedication to providing our community with a local paper. It’s a stressful job, and if it’s like most jobs in journalism, it does not pay as much as you deserve to make.

To Quill readers, please do NOT follow the wishes of “Not Happy,” and “flock to the Quill office in droves to cancel your subscription.” Please be grateful that we still have a local paper. Please support the hard-working staff during this tough transition.  

With sincere respect and gratitude,

Toni Chritton Johnson,

West Plains