Declining circulation, revenues and profits have not stopped the Fayetteville Observer from selectively rejecting good business and advertising revenues. Last week, in an unprecedented move, they invoked a policy selectively rejecting employment opportunity ads from our company F & B Publications. Since 1996 we have published a community weekly newspaper in Fayetteville/Cumberland County. We also publish PrimeLife Magazine for area seniors and, in 1998, we created and introduced Kidsville News!, a children’s newspaper and educational resource to Cumberland County. It is unconceivable and unbelievable that after a 13-year history of doing business with the Fayetteville Observer and with a journalistic mission to promote local “quality of life” venues for the Fayetteville/Cumberland County community, we are shocked and disappointed that our only daily newspaper would intentionally obstruct and curtail the potential employment opportunities of local residents.
    Over the years we have created media sales & marketing, advertising, graphic design, delivery and administrative jobs and career opportunities for hundreds of people over a last decade. So, what gives here? Making this situation even more ironic, last week they (Fayetteville Publishing Co.) offered its employees voluntary buyouts in an effort to reduce operating costs and adjust for declining revenues.
    So, what message is the Fayetteville Observer trying to get out? “You can’t work here…… but you can’t work anywhere else (either).” If this is true, how sad. Sad, but not surprising.
    This policy was engineered and implemented by Jeff Green, chief marketing officer and Fred Benson, sales and marketing director. Benson did not return my phone call. Their new policy was supported and endorsed by Publisher Charles Broadwell (who did take my phone call). He said, without explanation, that he was going to support the new policy decision of Green and Benson. Hmmmmmm. Go figure? Just a few months ago Broadwell told me personally that there never has been a policy at the FO to bar or exclude “other media” from advertising for local employment. That same day, I received a personal phone call from Mr. Benson himself apologizing for the rejection and “misunderstanding.” He gladly accepted my employment advertisement and my money. We have continued to do business. That is, until last week, when this issue again conveniently resurfaced.
    It just doesn’t seem conscionable, responsible or respectable that Broadwell, Green and Benson would block employment opportunities and reject advertising revenues while asking their employees to voluntarily take early retirement. In a letter to their employees they also acknowledged that layoffs may be looming in the very near future. Again, how creepy, “you can’t work here……but you can’t work anywhere else (either)”.
    This is only one example of why newspaper monopolies all over the country have always been a very bad thing for the public in general. Monopolies lack a conscious. Sure, they talk local but strive to focus and invest in their own long-term well being. And, at what cost? I am not faulting the daily newspaper for trying to survive in these trying times. That’s business. But, to keep job and career opportunities out of the reach of qualified local professionals just because they can is beyond shameful behavior.
    Here at the Up & Coming Weekly we believe in daily and community newspapers. We also believe that good, honest business and journalist practices by the media is what keeps our economy vibrant and our residents informed. These days every business organization and industry is faced with rising costs and tough economic conditions. The FO needs to deal with its own demons. We are dealing with ours. In the meantime, they should let everyone one else evaluate whatever marketplace opportunities are available.
Notice: We are hiring. Sales managers, classified managers and sales and marketing professionals. We provide benefits, health care and 401k and we are a great place to work. Send your resume with a cover letter to Publisher, F&B Publications, PO Box 53461 Fayetteville, NC 28305 E-mail bbowman@upandcomingweekly.com
    There, I just saved $300.
    Thanks for reading Up & Coming Weekly.
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