July 19, 2009: No Newspaper Again

For a Sunday work was actually rather busy today.  Much more than I usually get on a Sunday.  I sure hope that this is not indicative of what is going to happen next week when I need to be able to coordinate working while traveling on Sunday.

This is the second week that our newspaper subscription has not arrived.  Dominica wanted to get a subscription to the local Westchester Gannet newspaper, the “Journal News”, which I was against but I see it as supporting a worthless, environmentally unfriendly waste of hot air.  Gannet newspapers are pathetic and give the concept of journalism a black eye – they are nothing more than an outlet for press releases and other free or pay to play content.  It really irks me that we have no means of getting our Sunday coupons without buying the newspaper and wasting all of that paper for no reason.  We would never consider reading that tripe and yet we have to pay for it as if the writing in the paper actually matters just to save some money.  So, a few weeks ago, after doing tons of research and discovering that there just was no other way to get our local, weekly circular coupons we decided that it would be okay to subscribe to the newspaper just to get them.

Last week our paper did not come even though they charged us for the subscription and the newspaper website says that the paper should be coming as we are marked as having paid.  Dominica tried to contact the paper during the week but their website was down most of the week and their customer service line does not take messages.  She tried several times and finally managed to get through on the website but no one ever responded to her.

So today, as expected, our paper did not come again.  Dominica went through all of the channels yet again to report another week without a paper but, of course, customer service was closed and they don’t take phone messages.  The website was down.  No method of contacting the paper on their busiest day of the week.

To make the situation even more pathetic, just this month Westchester Magazine ran an article on the Journal News talking about how the paper is failing due to a lack of interest in its archaic medium, a new generation of readers who are not acquainted with the newspaper, etc.  They talk about how this paper is, like so many others in the country, struggling to stay afloat with a dwindling subscriber base.  Yet, here we see that the paper isn’t even remotely interested in delivering us the paper when they’ve managed to get someone willing to accept it – even if grudgingly.

So Dominica wrote a scathing email to the president and the publisher of the paper but we expect that they don’t have working email or, if they do, that they are not competent enough to know how to read it.  That appears to be the problem at this, and I suspect, many newspapers in the United States.  They are staffed by people who have failed to keep up with the world or obtain basic high school graduation requirements and are stuck working in a world of print and bottom of the barrel journalism built from a base of press releases and, if the budget allows, regurgitated wire news.

I can’t wait until the newspapers finally die and free us from their decaying hulk and force simple things like the weekly coupons to become electronic rather than making us generate loads of landfill just to keep down the cost of groceries.  We would happily – very happily – pay for our coupons to be sent to us in some other way.  The amount of money that the coupon printers are willing to throw away in order to prop up the newspaper industry is staggering.  We would easily pay a dollar a week for the coupons.  It would take only a first class stamp to send them to us in the most expensive form possible and dramatically less in bulk mail or however they could work it out.  That would give them a profit of fifty to seventy cents per customer more than they are getting now and currently they get nothing from their distribution channel so this is a lot of profit from doing pretty much nothing.

I worked a long day today and Dominica took Liesl out to go shopping at the grocery store.  She had to buy the paper there, again, so that we would have the coupons.

After work was done we hung out for a while and Dominica did some work on some Linux systems and Xen hypervisors.  Very good learning experience stuff.

We watched Bedtime Stories which is the “new” Disney and Adam Sandler film.  It wasn’t great but it wasn’t bad.  Definitely a kids movie and it did not really grab me at all.  We had it on BD from Netflix so can’t complain about the cost.  Definitely not a movie that I plan to buy although I have a feeling that there are going to be a lot of movies that we buy soon because they are movies that Liesl will like.  Fortunately we already have a massive children’s film collection so we don’t have to worry about much content other than the really young age stuff like The Wiggles which we are starting to buy now.  We already own every Disney animated movie ever and most other important animated films, lots of family friendly stuff and Disney classics.

Oreo spent the evening snuggling with me on the recliner.  This is his new thing.  A few weeks ago he started doing this every night when we would relax in the living room and now it has become a routine.  He hops up on the chair once early in the evening to do an inspection to make sure that there is a space for him and that his blanket is ready and then he comes back fifteen minute to half an hour later and snuggles with me in the chair and stays there until we go to bed.  It is very sweet.

After Bedtime Stories we watched an episode of Keeping Up Appearances which is one of those classic shows that you can just watch over and over again and it never really gets old.  Dominica went to bed after just one episode but I was not tired yet so I stayed awake for one more.  It was probably a quarter till eleven when I went to bed.

As of today I am completely, one hundred percent caught up with all of the images that I have to upload to Flickr.  Over four thousand pictures hosted there now.

Tomorrow morning I am working the early shift at the office so have to be up around six in the morning.  I am only doing that shift one day this week.

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  1. I live in Chapel Hill also and receive regularly the Journal News and for almost 40 years at different addresses in Westchester, even before it was part of the Gannett chain. It’s a good paper for local and regional news. For national and international coverage, they are like any other home town paper in America: they reprint their AP feeds.

    Rarely had I any problems with delivery, even on mornings when no sane person would venture outside. If you have problems with the weekend delivery, call their servicee number 800-942-1010 before 11AM. They are also good at suspending deliery when you go away.

    If you want a more substantial, better edited paper, your other local paper is The New York Times. It has local coverage, plus you get one of the world’s premier newspapers. It’s also delivered, probably by the same local delivery service, which is contracted by all the papers, including the Wall Street Journal, Investors Daily, etc. So you do have a choice.

    Of course, both publications are available, if you prefer, online – as are the weekly circulars. You don’t need to take delivery of any paper. For Stop and Shop just google “stop and shop circular” and find the current week’s circular.

    Your larger point – the questionalble need for print media – is well taken. It is the subject of constant debate. As of now it seems the public is reluctant to pay for online news and also seems less willing to pay for the printed version. The result is less news reporters, shrinking coverage. Bloggers fill the void – sometimes with questionable credentials.

  2. After two weeks of fighting with them we managed to get the paper delivered once. Then, one week later, they stopped delivering again. It took a lot of effort to get someone to return our calls and then they gave some sad excuse about having us assigned to the wrong distribution center – which does not explain why they failed to respond to the customer service inquiries or why their website doesn’t accept issue submissions or why their publisher does not respond. But then, after giving us an excuse and getting us the paper once they have some new problem and just don’t deliver.

    Once they dropped off the wrong paper on the wrong day. But most likely that was just someone else’s paper that they accidentally dropped at our door instead.

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