UNITY: Journalists Opposes Postal Commission’s Deal with Valassis Direct Mail

February 13, 2013

Media Contact:
Walt Swanston, Interim Executive Director
(703) 854-3585

MCLEAN, VA. – UNITY Journalists for Diversity, Inc. supports the Newspaper Association of America’s lawsuit against the Postal Regulatory Commission regarding its deal with Valassis Direct Mail.

Cuts to the newspaper industry disproportionately hurt diversity in news coverage and the numbers of journalists of color and other underrepresented groups in newsrooms. UNITY: Journalists for Diversity stands with the Newspaper Association of America in challenging the U.S. Postal Regulatory Commission’s deal to offer a reduced mailing rate solely to Valassis Direct Mail.>The Newspaper Association of America</a>  filed its initial brief in its lawsuit against the commission on Monday regarding the Commission’s deal with Valassis. The case is being heard in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.

“First of all, common sense tells you that a deal like this where only one company in the whole advertising business in the U.S. stands to benefit from, is simply not right,” said Tom Arviso Jr., UNITY president. “This is a deal that is totally unfair and disrespectful to this country’s many newspapers and advertising firms who depend on advertising dollars to help sustain their operations and keep their employees working.

“UNITY: Journalists for Diversity, supports the NAA’s lawsuit because it is the right thing to do. We, as working journalists, have a commitment to our readers and to our advertising clients that we sincerely hold on to and deliver every day,” continued Arviso. “We urge all newspaper companies and advertising firms across the country to also give their support to the NAA and their legal challenge to this unfair deal. Hopefully, the District of Columbia’s court of appeals will hear our voice and understand our opposition to this unreasonable deal.”

The three-year Valassis deal does little to improve the financial condition of the U.S. Postal Service, adding $15 million in revenue for an agency that faces losses of $14 billion this year.

Direct mail competes with newspaper advertising, especially the insert-laden Sunday newspapers crucial to newspapers’ revenue, circulation and single-copy sales. Revenue from newspaper advertising supports reporters, editors and photographers who provide information critical to building an informed citizenry necessary for a participatory democracy. The loss of daily newspapers in New Orleans, Seattle and Denver should serve as a warning of what can happen if newspapers continue to lose advertising revenue to cheaper rivals like Valassis.

As the news industry cut costs in 2009, job losses disproportionately affected journalists of color. As news companies began hiring again last year, the number and percentage of minority journalists continued to fall, according to an ASNE Newsroom Census.

UNITY urges U.S. representatives and senators to also work on reversing the U.S. Postal Regulatory Commission’s decision.


About UNITY Journalists for Diversity, Inc.

UNITY: Journalists for Diversity, an alliance of four journalism organizations representing more than 4,000 journalists, is the nation’s most diverse journalism organization. A coalition of the Asian American Journalists Association, the National Association of Hispanic Journalists, the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association and the Native American Journalists Association, UNITY is a strategic alliance advocating fair and accurate news coverage about people of color and LGBT issues and aggressively challenges news organizations to increase diversity in whom they employ at all levels of their companies.

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