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Thursday, June 26, 2008

DHL Change In Planes Could Wallop Ohio: But It May Help Slumping Newspaper Industry

WILMINGTON, Ohio (TDB) -- Your local fishwrapper may start delivering fresh fish alongside the traditional print content that some people already find smelly. And it's all because of DHL. As many as 8,000 jobs may be lost in Clinton County and SW Ohio if DHL ends its air-freight express contract with with two carriers based in Wilmington. But a newspaper has seen an opening to generate some revenue as DHL shrinks -- it is going into the next-day parcel delivery service in the Rocky Mountains. It sounds like an idea that might catch on.

The Daily Sentinel of Grand Junction, Col., which is owned by Dayton Daily News corporate parent Cox Enterprises Inc. says it already delivers daily newspapers, so adding packages shouldn't be too difficult. Across the U.S., newspapers are struggling economically as readers and advertisers flee to the Internet. The Daily Sentinel looks like the first to seize an opportunity presented by DHL's shift in business strategy. The newspaper trade journal Editor & Publisher has an account of the foray into a new line of business, and says staff has already been added and more hires are expected.

DHL has ended deliveries on Colorado's Western Slope, an area that includes Vail and Aspen. Daily Sentinel Publisher Alex Taylor explains:

"We have one of the most sophisticated on-time, early-delivery networks. It makes sense to let our business partners benefit from that . . . It's one of the things we do best. Sometimes when it's snowing or there's an ice storm, you may not get your mail, but you'll always get your newspaper. If people want to pay us to carry other things, too, there's no reason we shouldn't."

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