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My newspaper subscribing problem

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by SF_Express, Nov 4, 2011.

  1. SF_Express

    SF_Express Active Member

    My bill says my newspaper subscription ends today, and although the carrier might be slow on the uptake by a few days, I have to assume I'll stop getting a daily paper delivered for the first time in many years soon.

    I'm struggling with this. I'm a newspaper guy, despite my job of the past 14 years. And I use the paper for Facebook critiques that a few people find amusing.

    I always try to make these critiques more about management calls than anything personal, although I suppose since managers are people, they're personal to them.

    But Tribune Co. policies and specifically how they relate to my local paper have ground me down. My business section on any given day might include more stories from the neighboring county than they do from mine (this is not rare), and same with the local section.

    And because they're trying to "program" two sports sections for the price of one, there are days where the decisions are incomprehensible.

    For example, this Tribune paper put every single game of the World Series on an inside page. Every one. Best World Series in years. Some days, they didn't even bother with the photo/tease. 5C, 7C, whatever.

    Thursday night, the Blackhawks visited the Panthers. They advanced the game on 1C, because of a lot of connections now here came from the Blackhawks.

    Game story: 5C. A shootout loss for a team that's 6-4-2 that they ADVANCED ON 1C, if I didn't make that clear.

    This is all about section decisions being made remotely; not wanting to tear up inside pages; modules; production efficiency; corporate chaos ... and I understand the problems they're having. But it's not about putting out a good paper.

    So unless they call and say, "We'll cut the re-up cost in half," I'm making the very sad decision to drop my daily paper. When I separated, my kids started me on that subscription because they couldn't seem me living without the paper every day. I doubt they'll bat an eye this time.

    But I can't keep validating a crappy product, so without some serious cost-to-me concessions on the paper's part, the end of an era is likely
  2. Matt1735

    Matt1735 Well-Known Member

    My thought is that if you called them up and said, I'll pay half or I won't pay at all... They'd take the half just to have you among their count and not as part of their ever-declining circulation number.
  3. LongTimeListener

    LongTimeListener Well-Known Member

    We just made that call and indeed cut our bill in half. We are now paying $1.50 a week to get seven-day delivery. Even at that, we were seriously thinking about cutting it. The only reason we didn't is my oldest son likes the comics. I figure at that price, and especially if my wife finds a couple of $1 coupons every week, it's worth it.

    But at least five days out of seven, the paper sits unread on the kitchen table until bedtime, then goes into recycling. Even the writers I know and like to read, I go to their blogs where they get into greater detail than they ever can in a 15-inch game story or column.
  4. Mizzougrad96

    Mizzougrad96 Active Member

    When I canceled my subscription, I got it for free for at least a year before it stopped showing up. I never saw a bill. I guess the delivery guy wasn't going to change his routine.
  5. SF_Express

    SF_Express Active Member

    Last time I did that, I got a call center in India or someplace, and they cut exactly $3 off my bill -- and then sent this bill asking for $3 more. I'm not kidding.

    I'll bide my time. I'm not canceling. Just not volunteering money.

    And LTL, believe it or not, the comics are one of the main reasons I haven't canceled previously.
  6. gravehunter

    gravehunter Member

    I'm still receiving renewal calls from the paper I used to subscribe to (and write for)...and I don't live in the delivery area anymore. I've told that several times to the flunky on the other end of the phone but I guess it doesn't matter. I recognize the number when they try to call and don't even bother to answer now.
    The paper even owes me money for not delivering the paper for a couple of months when I was subscribing to it. They said the check is in the mail but I don't expect to see it.
  7. sgreenwell

    sgreenwell Well-Known Member

    I never paid for The Providence Journal for 13 months when I was living in another town. I got it every day except Sunday. Never had a subscription before, and my landlord said he wasn't paying either, so I don't know what the deal was.
  8. Roscablo

    Roscablo Well-Known Member

    The last hard copy delivery I got ended when they put a note on my paper that said my subscription is out and unless I renew I'll stop getting the paper at the end of the week. The next day, no paper. Problem was I was up to date on my subscription as far as I knew. But they changed the way they billed from something like paying for the current quarter to paying for a quarter a head of time. But with online payments and such I didn't change how I did it, and they never sent me anything to let me know and never gave me a call. So they just ended it. A loyal subscriber.

    I called and sent an email saying I was a long-time customer and enjoyed the paper but also knew they needed every subscriber they could get, so what was up with the miscommunication? They apologized for the that but did nothing else to get my business back -- no credits, no discounts, not even an option to get the account up to date -- so I just left it. I'm a newspaper guy, too, and in a way I was sad to make the decision. But surprisingly I haven't missed it at all and that was three years ago.
  9. Dyno

    Dyno Well-Known Member

    I subscribe to an out of town paper at work. It gets delivered by mail, usually 2 days after it comes out. I pay more than double the local subscriber price. I'm totally fine with this, because I need it. Every year, there's a problem when renewal time comes. They never send me any kind of renewal mail or email. A couple of times when I've called to renew, the woman on the phone can't find my account or has some other problem. I'm trying to give them money and it's never as easy or seamless as it should be. I'd be more than happy to renew online but they're not set up for that. This is a major metro paper. Mind-boggling.
  10. flexmaster33

    flexmaster33 Well-Known Member

    Seems like if you can get a few coupons out of the mix, it would be worth paying the full price of $3/week. This also points to the problem of how newspapers treat the web. The sites/blogs should be used to enhance the print product, not make it obsolete. Newspapers need to figure that one out quick.
  11. Clerk Typist

    Clerk Typist Guest

    I had subscribed to two daily papers, mine and The Wall Street Journal. I go on vacation, call or do the online thing to stop each paper for a week.

    My paper never stopped coming. I come back and there are a bunch of papers at the top of the driveway, an invitation for a burglary. (Happily, no burglar.) I called, not mentioning I worked for the paper, and asked why and they had no idea. I let the subscription run out.

    The Wall Street Journal stopped, and didn't restart. After a couple of days, I call and ask why. They apologize and say it'll be there the next morning. It wasn't. I call again, they promise again. A WSJ is at my door, but the back door, the next morning. After that, nothing for a week. I call again, they promise again. Nothing. I wait another few days and cancel. The lady on the other end of the line asks for another chance. I said, "M'am, it's three strikes and you're out."

    They were quick to send a refund check, I'll say that.

    The only paper I get at home now is the local weekly, delivered by mail. It covers my town far better than the daily I work for.

    Great business to be in except for the business part of it.
  12. Stitch

    Stitch Active Member

    Readers don't want print. Eventually, most consumers in industrialized countries are going to have a tablet of some form. Digital news products have to be more than just the newspaper online, or a few blog and Twitter feeds, to make customers pay for subscriptions rather than visiting news websites that likely will never have to charge.
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