Michael Phelps: Of this and that

Opinion,Michael Phelps

BGE Power outages vex, confound and annoy Examiner readers and staffers.

They?ve happened twice in June, once on the first and again yesterday. Both times, the power company restored power faster than they predicted they would, a clever application of under promising and ove delivering.

But, nonetheless, not good. As one like some of you who know virtually nothing about what happens upstream from the switch on the wall, worrisome thoughts of a long hot summer and rolling outages made sleep difficult during the early hours of yesterday morning. On June 1, we let you know via electronic media that failed power would make your newspaper late. With another power failure in less than two weeks, I decided to wait and apologize today.

I?m sorry. I?m sure Mayo Shattuck, Constellation CEO, is too.

Government waste

You?ll be pleased to know that covering government waste tops Baltimore Examiner editors? agendas.

We all pay lots of taxes to the United States, Maryland and local city and county governments. None of it should be wasted. Government should provide what we the people individually can?t provide for ourselves ? defense, including border security, protecting assets like national parks, and providing temporary food and housing for our least fortunate.

Surpluses should be returned to the people or second, saved for a rainy day. Right?

We need your help to identify government waste and to investigate and report it. Please direct e-mail to, telephone calls to the news tip line, 410-878-6184, or mail to 400 E. Pratt St. Baltimore, MD 21202.

Examiner FAQs

Many of you have asked about our newspaper. Here are some common questions and my best answers.

Why is The Examiner free?

It isn?t. Advertisers pay to put advertising in a place where readers like you will read it. Advertising provides about 80 percent of the revenue for newspapers like The Sun, 100 percent for us. The Sun and its peers charge readers for news, but also for reading their ads (about 40 percent of the space). We don?t. We deliver the newspaper to 236,000 households in the Baltimore market and put another 18,000 or so out in racks or with hawkers (they?re not peddlers because they don?t peddle) and provide an electronic edition at The Examiner?s circulation is the largest in Maryland. You find news free on the web and on broadcast television and on the radio. Why should you have to pay for it in newsprint?

Who wouldn?t take a free newspaper?

About 3 percent of you. Some travel, some are physically challenged and some simply don?t want it. The ones who don?t want it are perhaps a little change averse. You?re reading it, so you?re not. But the truth is, if someone doesn?t want The Examiner, we don?t want them to have it. We replace those who cancel with those that fit the reader description of customers advertisers want to reach.

Can you stop my newspaper for vacations?

Yes, but sometimes (the exception, I trust) our carrier will foul up so ask your neighbor to grab your newspaper if the carrier does and please accept my apology in advance.

Why don?t you have late scores?

For those of you who are serious sports fans, please read the Baltimore Examiner and then go to Because despite our high speed presses and carriers, we can?t get late scores and standings in and get your newspaper to you in good time. For those of you who are serious sports fans, please go to;; and Stan Charles? Press Box, a free newspaper found in racks all over town.

Why didn?t you cover (fill in the blank)?

Because we may not have known about it. Newspaper newsrooms have forever depended on friends (readers) to tip them off about stories that we may not have learned about through conventional channels. Help us out and be an Examiner news source. Call or better yet, e-mail if you have a story idea.

Why are The Examiner racks empty so early in the morning?

A few reasons. Lots of people want to read the newspaper. Others, like a diner and deli owner or two, we?ve heard, grab a stack from the machines for their customers.

Others? Well, who knows but here is an eyewitness account of an Examiner grabber from my colleague, Mike Gabriele, The Examiner creative manager:

At 5:43 a.m., a man arrived. He walked to The Examiner box and removed the entire stack, just like Downtown Athletic Club employees noted earlier that week. I quickly snapped a picture and hopped from my car to him. "Excuse me. Did you just take every paper out of that box?"

"Yes," he said.

"What could you possibly want with 20 newspapers?" I asked.

He replied by quickening his pace.

"Well, I work for The Examiner," I said, "and would at least like a statement."

That?s when themystery man took off running for The Sun?s parking lot yelling, "No comment!"

Since I was not weighed down with two-dozen newspapers over my back, I was able to keep up, following just long enough to see him enter The Sun, which DAC employees had witnessed on previous mornings. Now, since The Examiner is free, one could argue how "wrong" is it for someone to make off with so many newspapers. In any case, the DAC has decided to move them inside so that their patrons have an opportunity to read The Examiner.

Michael Phelps is president and publisher of The Baltimore Examiner.
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