Would You Pay For Oprah-Endorsed News?

Others are stepping in to save newspapers. Colleges are creating newspaper cooperatives with their local paper to bolster dwindling resources. In Washington, one senator wants to allow newspapers to have a non-profit status. Heck, France is even considering government funding to support newspapers.

You can help, too….

If, that is, “you” are Oprah Winfrey, to whom the above letter from Todd Franko, editor of The (Youngstown, Ohio) Vindicator, is addressed.

Because Winfrey’s audience “do[es] what you say,” Franko writes, Winfrey should never again host on her show a guest who suggests that people cut newspaper subscriptions to save money in this economic climate (as did Winfrey guest Suze Orman recently). Winfrey should instead “talk up newspapers” like she apparently did on November 5th when she “endorsed” the Chicago Sun-Times, after which the Sun-Times reportedly printed an additional 350,000 copies (also: wasn’t there some sort of historical and newspaper-boosting election that week?).

That November day, as Winfrey interviewed a Sun-Times editor on her studio sofa, she held that paper aloft and declared:

I love to check out front pages of newspapers from all over the country and find my favorites and at least three times during these historic last three months my hometown paper — the Chicago Sun-Times — has been spot on…

Out of which, if Oprah “loves to check out front pages of newspapers,” one could see naturally emerging some sort of regular Oprah feature, an “Oprah’s Newspaper Club” of sorts. Of course, unlike with her Book Club, nearly all of the Newspaper Club’s assigned readings would be readily available for free. So what Oprah would really need to “talk up” is paying for newspapers.

So: would you pay for Oprah-endorsed news? (Or, as Franko would probably phrase it, wouldn’t your wife and your mother?)

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Liz Cox Barrett is a writer at CJR.