If you missed last week's Publisher's Note, The Clarion-Ledger has tried to trick local distributors into signing on to a scheme called "TDN." Under TDN, distribution boxes around town would be replaced by Gannett boxes, which would be stocked to the brim with Gannett publications. Meanwhile, independent papers like the Jackson Free Press would have to pay at least $8 a month to distribute to each Gannett boxes, and we would be forbidden from placing our own boxes anywhere on the property. They actually had the gall to tell some distributors that the JFP, and other free publications, were "accepted" TDN papers, which isn't true. We hadn't "accepted" anything.
In 2004, Gannett insisted that TDN was not a Gannett-wide company. However, TDN has already struck in at least one other city dominated by a Gannett daily. In mid-2004, The Greenville News in Greenville, S.C., launched TDN, and within a year, the local alternative weekly, MetroBEAT, went out of print. "We would have had to pay $100,000 a year if we bought into all of TDN's boxes in their circulation area," MetroBEAT Editor James Shannon told the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies.
Gannett's attempts to control indepen-dents are part of a nation-wide assault by corporate media that includes corporate weeklies that imitate the style of independents. In Jackson, the faux-independents are Gannett's dull weekend pull-out and the execrable Northeast Ledger, or "Whitey," as I like to call it (or have I misunderstood what "northeast" means in Jackson?).
Last week, the JFP joined with other local publications in a new alliance to oppose TDN. If Gannett succeeds, it will not be long before your only alternative to The Clarion-Ledger is the Northeast Ledger. If you've ever tried to read either publication, you know how boring that future would be. We're not going to let that happen, we promise.
When Whitey clogs storm drains, children suffer most of all. ...
- Brian C Johnson
Aren't these attempts by the CL a violation of anti-trust law? I'm not a lawyer...do we have any on here who can comment?