Don't expect to reach an actual person at the Denver Newspaper Agency before 6 a.m. anymore

Although the current economic woes are negatively impacting plenty of industries, they're striking old-technology media firms with special vengeance. As such, most firms are trying to cut costs in ways that are meant to be invisible to most, but not all, customers.

Case in point. The Denver Post and the Rocky Mountain News pledge delivery to subscribers by 5:30 a.m. -- and that's important to me, since I'm usually out of the house by 6 a.m. Since Tuesday, however, my copies have been late, and this morning, I finally decided to call and complain, as I've done over the years when glitches have arisen. I dialed the circulation line as usual, declining to push buttons on the automated system because I've gotten better service when talking to an operator. I was then put on hold, during which a recording told me about an upcoming "economic stimulus sweepstakes" that will offer prizes up to $75,000! Then, a second recording popped up, informing me that the switchboard hours now begin at 6 a.m. before cutting me off.

The result? People with delivery issues must wait longer than before to speak to a human being. It's a reasonable trim -- but also another grim sign of the times.