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  • Wednesday's Wake Up Call!: Post offices to close

  • Many of you have done stories on the news that offices in rural areas may close -- here are some ways to get resident reaction and to answer reader questions about the news.

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  • The U.S. Postal Service is reviewing more than 3,600 post offices for possible closure, to save the organization some money.
    The offices up for closure include many in rural areas.
    Ways to localize the story:
    -- Why does the post office have to save money? Isn't it a government agency? In fact, it's an independent arm of the government supported mostly by postal fees, which have fallen since the popularity of email. Here's lots of info on where the post office gets its money.
    -- So if email and online bill pay are to blame for the decline of the postal service, why close shop in rural areas that may not have easy Internet access? Compare your local post offices facing closure with a map of local Internet providers. Make sure to show where only dial-up is available versus faster broadband connections. In which category do the rural post offices fall?
    -- Talk to people in the towns with post offices that may be closed. As the mayor of a town in Iowa that could lose its post office told the Wall Street Journal, "what is a town without a post office?" How might the loss affect not only residents' daily lives, but the perception of their town? If any post offices have been closed in your area before, how did those residents cope afterward?

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