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.

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