The Arkansas Democrat Gazette this past week launched a campaign to begin giving away their daily newspaper to residents of Little Rock as part of their normal home delivery service. The move comes after a large decrease in the amount of paper thefts.
Paper thefts typically happen from residents stealing the paper from other neighbor’s door step, taking more than one paper from paper boxes, or breaking into paper boxes. The paper thefts are calculated into their overall circulation numbers and allow the Democrat Gazette to maintain their “Arkansas’ largest newspaper” title.
“We have for years been able to count on a healthy amount of paper theft,” the Democrat Gazette’s circulation manager tells us. “We had people use it to line bird cages, paint drop cloths, ransom letters, and even the occasional person who just wanted to read it. For some reason these people are not stealing anymore and we have to keep up the circulation numbers. We purposely locked down our website to encourage people to steal the print edition. You are not going to line your bird cage with an iPad.”
Local residents are annoyed with the paper’s move to start giving the printed newspaper away. A number of Little Rock residents are planning a protest later today by laying their unused free print copies outside the paper’s headquarters at Capitol and Scott.
“I am not going to stand for this,” one resident tells us. “They keep cluttering up my porch with this ugly yellow bags. I have not actually read the paper since I discovered in 2005 that they were just repeating the news off the internet from two days before. Then I canceled my subscription back in 2007 when my bird died. Ain’t nobody got time for this nonsense.”
The newspaper issued a brief statement in regard to the planned protest. “Look, it is this simple. Either find someone to steal the paper or we are going to keep throwing it on your porch. It is as simple as that.”
This is not the paper’s first try to increase theft. Last year the paper inserted 5 golden tickets into random newspapers. The tickets gave the winners a magical tour of their newspaper factory with the intent of selecting one individual to be given the company. No tickets were ever redeemed out of fear of being given the company.