Subscriber Sues Raleigh Newspaper After Layoffs

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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:

“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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DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily bluster—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

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