I’m grateful to our readers for a number of things, but one truly wonderful aspect of our audience is they allow—and even seem to appreciate—our bizarre food-related thought experiments. What if we made a sandwich out of KFC skins? What if offices served mac and cheese instead of pizza at meetings? What if we sent Drew Magary a $250 steak on Univision’s dime? Today, I ask you to reserve your judgments, hold on to your hats, keep your hands and arms inside the vehicle and hear me out once more: What if pizza boxes are the future of local news?
I got to thinking about this when I heard about a Matawan, New Jersey pizzeria called Angelo’s Pizza that’s begun taping lost-pet flyers to its pizza boxes. Angelo’s owner tells News 12 New Jersey: “That flyer has that person’s attention as they’re walking out the door towards their car. You have their undivided attention for two or three minutes.”
I think the pet-flyers-on-pizza-boxes idea has merit. (Do lost-pet notices still get taped to telephone poles these days, or has everything migrated to Facebook, Nextdoor, and the like?) I started thinking about other important community services we could provide on pizza boxes to foster civic participation:
- Local government meetings calendar
- Upcoming blood drive announcements
- Little League games recaps
- Notices from the town police department
- Area business spotlights
- Small items classifieds
Wow, imagine being able to read all that local news in one place, I thought. How convenient that would be, as you dig into your pizza, to have something like a town newsletter to pore over.
Record scratch. That is a local newspaper. As small newsrooms across the country slash their budgets and cut staff to the bare bones, what if newsrooms could partner with local pizzerias to distribute their product? It’s a value-add for the pizzeria and would help employ local reporters. Am I joking about this? I’m not even quite sure anymore. But if Domino’s and Lee Enterprises merge in a couple years, I expect to be properly credited.