Print Girl Makes a Major Change

Written By: Kim - Feb• 16•11

I cut my publishing teeth before desktop publishing existed. I know how to use a typesetting machine, pica pole, Xacto knife and a wax machine. Anyone not in the publishing business or under 40 can Google those terms. At my college newspaper, Troy State Tropolitan, we had one Mac computer my senior year. It eventually changed the way we did business — for the better.

I have been extremely loyal to the newspapers I read; faithfully renewing my subscriptions and filling my head with the latest news. I resisted the trend of getting all of my news online. I still liked curling up on the couch over the weekend to read the paper.

© Kriss Kzhurlatowski via stock.xchng

Many newspapers offer a free digital subscription with a print subscription. Because I own an iPad, it is extremely convenient (and doesn’t weigh much) for me to simply carry my iPad with me to work, download the newspaper’s app, log in and read the news. It’s a great way for me to use my time while I ride the commuter train. I often find stories I wish to share on Twitter or LinkedIn, which means if I read the hard copy newspaper, I have to log in online to send it along. This week, I decided this was inefficient — basically touching the same news story twice in order — to share the information.

So began my quick emails to The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Times. My fourth paper is local and doesn’t require a log in to read it online. Yes, I still maintain a home delivery because I believe in supporting community newspapers.

The only newspaper that responded with the answer I was looking for was The Washington Times who converted my annual subscription over to digital only (which costs less than the printed version). Both the Post and the Journal gave me the standard: “We are sorry that you want to cancel your subscription, blah, blah, blah.”

I never said I wanted to cancel my subscription. I was simply asking to no longer receive the paper version because I wanted to get my news online only. Don’t people read their emails? Why hasn’t your approach to customer service changed with the times?

This is 2011: the laptop, smart phones and now tablets have revolutionized the way we consume content. Why hasn’t your policy/offer/database/customer service approach changed as well? What in the heck are you waiting for?

So after two more emails to both the Post and the Journal, the Post did offer me a digital-only subscription called e-replica. The Journal still will deliver my paper edition unless I want to cancel my subscription.

Good thing I use newspapers in my garden.

Lawyers, Cops, Firemen and Doctors: How Did I End Up Here?

Written By: Kim - Feb• 12•11

I have always been fascinated with television shows about lawyers, police officers and medical/emergency personnel. Years before anyone coined the phrase “reality television” shows like “LA Law,” “Hill Street Blues,” “CHiPs,” M*A*S*H and “St. Elsewhere”, “China Beach” were shows I grew up watching. ER was the last medical drama I watched until “Grey’s Anatomy” was launched. Once ER’s Dr. Mark Greene died of brain cancer and I bawled like a baby, I just couldn’t and didn’t want to watch the show anymore.

My current television DVR list includes “The Good Wife,” “Private Practice” and now “The Chicago Code.” The only show I can recall watching recently about the publishing industry was “Ugly Betty.” Other than the Dad on “Eight is Enough” who served as a newspaperman and “Lou Grant ” from the 1980s and 1970s respectively, I do not know of any other shows centered around the publishing business. I get it. We’re just not as exciting. We don’t make the news; we cover it.

You would think that my interest in these types of television shows would have steered me toward a different career path. What keeps me interested in good television shows is not what the characters do for a living, but how the characters interact; what they say; the decisions they make. The writer determines what the characters say. Therein lies my passion and true calling.

When I look back, the signs were there that I would end up in the communications or publishing world: asking my Mom for and pointing to books when I rode in the shopping cart as a toddler; taped conversations to my Dad while he served in Vietnam; long love letters to my parents as I left for college; sentimental or funny cards for special occasions — I only pick out the ones that really speak to me.

© Tey Teyoo via stock.xchng

Becoming a wordsmith was bound to happen. I just didn’t see it at first: I wanted to be a doctor. But the chemistry, biology and calculus classes left me realizing that I could not take three more years of these kinds of courses plus medical school. Since I was working part-time retail through college, I thought perhaps a business degree would fit nicely in to my life plans. I took one accounting class. Enough said. The spring of my sophomore year, I took a speech communications class. Loved it and the professor encouraged me to consider a journalism degree. I had finally found a degree that would lead me down a career path.

Despite the fact that I was making half of what the marketing degree graduates were and regardless of the ups and downs of the publishing industry; I have never regretted my choice. I have met amazing people along the way and learned their stories. I then told those stories to you. How many folks out there can say that?

Publishing professionals were the first social networkers — we just didn’t call it that.