November 2023

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November 2023 NewsBeat 23 T he United States Postal Service in October announced it expected to in January increase by 7.3 percent the local Within County mailing rate for newspapers. The average proposed increase for First-Class mail is 1.9 percent, even though the First-Class stamp rate would rise by two cents to $.68. The proposed increase for advertising mail is also 1.9 percent, though the increase within that mail class used by local newspapers to distribute shoppers and other adver- tising mail increases ranging from 2.1 to 3.9 percent, depending upon mail density. The rate for Periodicals mail destined for outside the publisher's county would settle at a more modest 1.59 percent. That rate is also used by national magazines and other national publications. The increase is intended as the first half of a semi-annual increase and to go into effect January 21, 2024. National Newspaper Association Chair John Galer, publisher of The Jour- nal-News in Hillsboro, Illinois, said in a press release the dramatic rate increase for local newspapers was a shock. "It certainly seems as if the Postal Service wants to discourage newspapers from using the mail. At a time when local journalism is already in peril and more newspapers are using the mail to reach subscribers, this increase is simply punitive," Galer said. "We expect both our subscribers and other stakeholders in our community to push back at the subscription increases that will be made necessary by the Postal Service's action." Ironically, the Postal Service's princi- pal justification for the steep increase is that the PRC now requires USPS to share more of the savings created when pub- lishers do some of the work that postal workers would otherwise have to do, such as presorting the mail and trans- porting it to destination post offices. Traditionally, USPS has shared far less than 100 percent of the savings when it passes along mail discounts. But because PRC is pushing the postal system to be more generous in sharing the savings, USPS is simply raising the basic rate so it can show a more acceptable discount. Postal rates to increase substantially in January

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