Here is the letter I sent to the editor of our local newspaper in response to his letter inquiring why I have cancelled my subscription:
Thank you for your letter of 15th June regarding my cancelled subscription to The Dominion Post. You say you would like to know why I cancelled and I am happy to outline the reasons.
Firstly, I find that the Internet is increasingly my primary source of news. I receive RSS feeds from the BBC, The New Zealand Herald and other sites that I find present the local and international news in a far more accessible and comprehensive format than your newspaper.
But the main reason I have cancelled is because I do not like the direction that The Dominion Post has taken in the last several years. Take today's edition (20-21 June), for example. The front page lead, with a red banner headline, is a story about a minor fraud committed by a Wellington man against a TradeMe executive. Surely a red banner headline signifies a more important story than this? Most of the rest of the front page is taken up with a story about some dogs that people have knitted coats for! The only other story on the front page is a small piece about the weather for tonight's test match.
Then we go to the World news section. The entire front page and most of page two is taken up with background pieces on a Melbourne gang family that is really only of minor interest to New Zealanders. The leading world news story - the evolving situation in Iran - is given two short columns on page 3. If the North Koreans land a missile on Hawaii tomorrow, I dare say you'll tuck it in after the stories about cats and babies and the diets of minor entertainment industry figures!
Simply put, your newspaper has turned into a cross between an English tabloid and an American gossip magazine. You are clearly aiming at the populist market and are no longer interested in being a serious broadsheet that focuses on genuine news. I can't blame you for pursuing this strategy - going by the recent article on your front page about your increasing readership (which, frankly, is another indictment on your use of your front page), it is successful. But if I want gossip and so-called human interest (or puppy interest) stories, I would rather read the Women's Weekly.
If it is any consolation, I no longer watch the television news for the same reasons.
I appreciate you writing to inquire about my cancellation. Perhaps there is hope for your newspaper after all.