Tuesday, December 9, 2014

One Sunday Away

Are you one Sunday away from losing your job?

Or, have you found yourself no longer doing business with a business you have been doing business with for many years?

A relative who worked in the newspaper business for over 25 years was laid off last week.   More and more, newspapers do not do their own editing or many other functions - everything is done from a centralized location. My relative was caught in the latest of many downsizings.

More and more, I see grammar and spelling errors in headlines and in newspaper articles. I am far from a grammar geek.   If I can see the errors they are plainly obvious.  Quality does not seem to count any more.  Someone I follow on Facebook likes to hunt these errors down and post them.

Someone I work with who lives about an hour from me says that in her city (which is bigger than mine), newspapers only get delivered three days a week.  The other four days, this woman says, the newspaper is barely worth purchasing.  And, if you want to read it, you go to a store.

I've had experiences surrounding my need to stop newspaper delivery, sometimes on short notice (for various personal reasons), and the problems I've encountered with what should have been a simple customer service transaction could fill their own blog.

There is even a website called "Newspaper Death Watch", which chronicles the decline and fall of the newspaper industry.

It is easy enough for industry people to see what is wrong.  My relative knew for years that the job was in jeopardy.   I have read that even the Sunday paper, the day of the week that keeps the rest of the newspapers day financially afloat, is in jeopardy.  Those Sunday advertising inserts are what keep newspapers alive nowadays, but even they may be disappearing soon.

I would be sweating if my industry was one Sunday away from disappearing.

So, do print newspapers have a chance at survival?  I am not in that industry, and so I can not give you an informed opinion.

Where my relative will end up working, and the process the relative will have to go through to get that job, will be of much interest to me.

But in the meantime, I was reminded of a blog post from 2010, which I am repeating below.  Here we are, four years later, and little has changed. When you are a dying industry, it's not a good idea to tick off your faithful customers.  Although, if your faithful customers are getting older and older, maybe it makes some kind of warped business sense. At least the newspaper we had the problem with, below, is still publishing.  But maybe, one Sunday, the last of their advertisers will decide it isn't worth using papers for advertising anymore.

Attention Newspapers: This is Why You are Going to Die

So....why would a relative of mine, who has a grown child in the newspaper industry, cancel her subscription to the paper her child works for?

I imagine, too, that this relative has had this subscription for....oh, maybe 40 or 45 years?

Now why would a loving mother do that to the employer of her child?  Because....

Said relative, an elderly stroke survivor, got tired of fishing her paper out of snowdrifts, hiking to the far end of a very long driveway, or not finding it at all.  She called the paper and said she was going to cancel.  The paper asked why, and she told them.  The customer service rep said something like "well, if that was taken care of, would you continue your subscription?"

Relative said yes.  Subscription continued.

Relative kept fishing her paper out of snowdrifts or (if lucky) finding it at the far end of her long driveway.  It's long for her; she can't walk long distances due to said stroke.  And she's not exaggerating this to us either; we visited her recently and found, sticking out of the melting snow, a paper dated from almost 30 days before.  But look on the bright side; it was in a plastic bag.

Relative told us never mind, throw it out.

Anyway, she's canceling her subscription soon.

Yes, that is how to reward a long standing customer.  Alienate them!  Don't keep your promises either.  But who cares about old people?
Maybe an industry that depends on them should care.

Because I can tell you (from knowing my son and others his age) the young people aren't reading the paper any more. 

I guess, newspaper industry, you are just going through the motions.  Too bad.  You are needed.  But you've lost the will to live.


  1. We cancelled out subscription for the local newspaper because of some of the reasons you listed. Then we took another subscription because we missed having newspaper for various things old newspapers are handy for.

  2. It's sad to me that newspaper are going to be a thing of the past in a few... decades? Or is that even a hopeful thought? I would be scared myself if I worked in that industry!

  3. Hi Alana,

    Great post! I always enjoy coming over to see what you shared:) Awesome share thanks!!!

  4. I've never had a print subscription to any newspaper. We are frequent patrons of our local library!

  5. I haven't read a newspaper in a long time. I get all my new online and in the radio when I'm in the car! I still get local papers that have flyers but I don't even look at those any more because I have an app on my phone that shows me all the flyers at my fingers tips.

  6. Hmmm!
    -Our residents at work get newspapers regularly. I don't like reading paper ones, I always check the news online.


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