NEW YORK — His local newspaper wanted to remove the literary critics to reduce the costs : the writer Stephen King has managed, in a few tweets, to save the topic threatened, happy ending in the fight for survival waged by many american media, hit by the crisis.
The story began on Friday, when Stephen King, master of horror and the fantastic, has announced that The Portland Press Herald, one of the largest newspapers in the State of Maine, where he resides, was going to delete his topic Sunday devoted to books written by authors of this small border State of Canada.
“Tell the newspaper NOT to DO THAT,” tweeted the novelist to the success of 71-year-old, who became famous with novels like Carrie or The Shining. A lot of local authors “depend on these reviews to continue”, he added.
More than 8000 of its fans have relayed his message. The management of the newspaper, which employs some 70 journalists, have reacted by putting the challenge to help find new subscribers to offset “the thousands of dollars,” that was the section written mostly by freelancers. “If you can convince 100 of your subscribers will take a subscription to the digital edition, we réinstaurerons immediately reviews of books”, has tweeted the newspaper, which account for less than 10 000 digital subscribers.
On Monday, the goal of 100 subscriptions — $15 US for 12 weeks — was largely achieved : “Thank you to all those who are subscribers to the Press-Herald“, wrote Stephen King. “You have saved the day. There are countries where the arts are seen as vital, but unfortunately, not this one.”
The editor-in-chief of the newspaper, Cliff Schechtman, said that the newspaper had collected “nearly 250 new subscribers” thanks to this operation.
“When someone like Stephen King is involved, with more than five million followers on Twitter, we knew that it would have an impact. We wondered how he could use his influence to support the journalism local,” he said by phone.
“The financial pressures do not decrease to the extent that the sector is undergoing significant change, but in this case, it is a happy ending”, he stressed.
If all the media have lost income with the rise of social networks and the availability of numerous free information on the Internet, the local newspapers, with limited means, are particularly affected and often struggle for their survival.