The United States Postal Service announced Wednesday it will not close about 3,700 post offices, many of them in rural communities, scheduled to start as early as next week.
Instead, the USPS plans to cut the operating hours of 13,000 post offices to between two and six hours a day. According to the Los Angeles Times, the move will save $500 million a year, more than twice the amount of money that would have been saved by closing the facilities.
In the same L.A. Times article, it was reported that the postal service loses $25 million a day. Beyond the proposed closings and reduced hours, the USPS has considered ending mail delivery on Saturdays to save money.
USA Today reported that in addition to the reduced hours, the USPS will offer $20,000 buyouts to about 21,000 postmasters.
Talk to rural postmasters to get their insight on the latest decision to keep post offices opened. Package their responses and headshots in an ASF to complement a story or stories.
Run a list and a locator map in print and/or online with the post offices that were scheduled to close and the ones scheduled for reduced hours.
Use callouts and polls to get community feedback. Do readers agree with the latest decision by the postal service? What are their thoughts on reduced hours? How do they view the proposal to end Saturday delivery?
Get feedback from congressional leaders of local districts.
Compare the USPS with other industries that have faced the need to restructure their business models or even re-invent the way they conduct business.