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For broadcast on CBS Radio Network stations January 11-12, 2003:

Friend or Foe?

The Stamp Collecting Report, I'm Lloyd de Vries.

The Postal Service recently announced that while overall mail volume is up,
first-class mail -- the stuff that makes money -- is down...and it blamed
that on e-mail.

It may be unfair, however, to blame the decrease in letter-writing entirely
on the Internet. That's been a trend for more than a century. We'd rather
pick up the phone than write a letter.

But more people ARE paying their BILLS online, and they're probably using
fewer stamps. That's NOT good for stamp collecting, but many, including this
reporter, argue that, overall, the Internet has been GOOD for stamp

First, the Internet allows collectors all over the world to communicate
inexpensively, regardless of distance and time zones. Stamp collecting has
always been a very international hobby. Now it's as easy to exchange
information with a friend in, say, Australia, as with one in the States.

And second, the Internet is proving to be the mass communications tool that
stamp collecting and other hobbies could rarely afford before. 

And that's stamp collecting this week. 

I'm Lloyd de Vries, CBS News. 

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