As Congress debates a bill to help the financially strapped U.S. Postal Service this week, West Virginia Sen. Jay Rockefeller plans to introduce legislation that would raise mailing costs for newspapers and other periodicals, Paul Nyden of The Charleston Gazette reports. The amendment calls fora5percentannualincrease on periodical mailing costs until the USPS decides the rate is high enough. The current proposed bill does not include any postal cost increases for newspapers or other periodicals.
National Newspaper Association public policy director Tonda Rush said increasing the cost of distribution will “cost more newspaper jobs,” and “make it particularly difficult for newspapers at a time they face increased competition from free news sources on the Internet.” Rockefeller says he’s trying to protect postal customers and employees, and keep open hundreds of rural post offices across the country. “I’m convinced that the Postal Service needs to take steps to address its administrative costs rather than unfairly burdening rural communities,” he said. “That’s why we are looking at a variety of ways for the agency to eliminate its deficit.”
— From the University of Kentucky Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues.