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Barbara Lombardo of Saratoga Springs, NY, is a journalism adjunct at University at Albany and retired executive editor of The Saratogian, The Record and the Community News. Follow her on Twitter @Barb_Lombardo.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

News from public agencies should come by e-mail, not U.S. mail

The New York Racing Association publishes an attractive, oversize calendar with cool racing shots, key NYRA dates highlighted, and big boxes for the dates in which to pencil in all your appointments.
A whole bunch of us in the newsroom each received one last month. Mine is hanging a couple of feet from my desk, because the pictures get me in the mood for racing and the dates are nice and big, so I can see them at a glance.
Not to sound ungrateful … but it cost $2.24 just to mail one calendar. No idea what the calendars cost to produce, and I’m admittedly not inclined to turn this into an investigative report. Instead, I’m just wondering how many small ways NYRA can trim its spending. After reading this, I bet that next season they’ll be saving at least $2.24.
The lesson of how small savings can add up could be learned by countless public agencies and private businesses. At The Saratogian, we still receive snail mail from public entities, usually state departments, with press releases and reports that could be distributed virtually for free online. They almost all end up in recycling.
I think I’ll start a little pile of the public press releases and reports that come by U.S. mail and share them with you. They’re a waste of paper and a waste of our tax dollars. At least my NYRA calendar is being put to good use.