Subscriber Sues Raleigh Newspaper After Layoffs

| Fri Jul. 11, 2008 3:50 PM EDT

When the Raleigh News & Observer announced last month it would cut 70 jobs, Keith Hempstead could have written a letter to the editor expressing his disdain for the subsequent reduction in news coverage.

Instead, Hempstead, a lawyer, sued the paper for "fraud" because the N&O sold him a renewal subscription before announcing the layoffs.

Hempstead, a former reporter, seems like the overzealous type, but, as he told a Raleigh reporter, he's suing to make a point:

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"I hate to see what companies that run newspapers are doing to the product," Hempstead said. "The idea that taking the most important product and reducing the amount of news and getting rid of staff to me seems pointless to how you should run a newspaper business."

John Drescher, the paper's executive editor, scoffed at the suit, saying Hempstead owes him money because "We've had some really good papers recently, and they're worth more than the 36 cents" subscribers pay.

Thus far, neither party has created a photo essay logging the affair.

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