March 23, 2017
Comedian Samantha Bee has taken her best stab at a never-ending debate – how to boost small-town, watchdog newspapers looking for subscribers.
During Wednesday's "Full Frontal with Samantha Bee" on TBS, Bee talked about the importance of supporting such news outlets in close to a seven-minute-long segment. After all, before the Flint water crisis or "Bridgegate" entered national conversations, the topics were first covered by smaller papers, Bee said.
The show's host then headed to New Brunswick Today, the only newspaper covering the New Jersey town, where she spoke with Editor-in-Chief Charlie Kratovil, who said that only 100 people were subscribed to the paper despite uncovering a corruption in the town's water utility.
"This is why local newspapers are so important," Bee said in the segment that can be watched below. "Without old-timey reporting like Charlie's, people in New Brunswick would have no idea that their water was poisoned."
In an effort to help the paper, Bee spoke to gamification expert Gabe Zichermann on how Kratovil could gain more subscribers.
The solution? To turn subscriptions into lottery tickets.
Huh? The unusual method seemed to work. At the end of the segment, Bee said that the lotto ticket trick increased subscriptions by 400 percent.
In a Facebook post Thursday morning, the paper thanked Bee for the coverage.