New postal rules could end small periodicals


The Governors of the United States Postal Service recently approved most of a plan for rate hikes set out for it by the Postal Regulatory Commission, the body that oversees the postal service. Included among the rate hikes that were approved are an increase of the cost of a stamp to 41 cents and a new pricing structure based on the shape of the package.

While these make sense, there are facets of the new plan that the governors sent back to the PRC for reconsideration. Among these is a plan that would increase the cost of mailing for periodicals based on several factors, including the number of periodicals sent, the weight of the periodicals, and how mixed together multiple periodicals are, which can lower the cost. This plan, which has 55 different pricing rates, was devised instead of a plan the USPS originally sent the PRC which would have increased all periodicals cost by about 12 percent.

Unfortunately for small to medium sized periodicals, this plan could greatly increase the cost of mailing out issues. The cost could increase up to 41 percent for some publications, according to a press release from the USPS. For example, The Nation, an influential left-leaning magazine based in Washington, D.C., reported that the new rules would increase their cost of mailing by $500,000, an increase they say could put them out of business.

This new plan was written by Time Warner, one of the biggest publishers of magazines. In addition, this plan was developed with little public input and even less Congressional oversight. It comes as no surprise, then, that the new rules turn out to be cheaper for larger publishers such as Time Warner and Hearst.

I believe the rules should be the same for everyone, not beneficial for the big dog and penalizing for the underdog. The new postal rules put in jeopardy hundreds of independent publications, many of which represent the dissenting opinion of the minority. In a nation where the dissenting opinion is the most important for people to hear, regardless of whether the dissent comes from the left or the right, these new rates simply cannot stand. I stand in support of our journalistic brethren in their fight against these new rates and urge all CSUN students to do the same.