They Didn't Ask Me (dr_phil_physics) wrote,
They Didn't Ask Me

The Grand Rapids Press Breaking The Faith With Its Readers?

The first of the year and I suddenly started having issues with the print edition of The Grand Rapids Press, which I have noted before only does home delivery three days a week: Sunday-Tuesday-Thursday. So I wrote to the editor, after having a helluva time trying to find a contact point online. (Yes, I could have searched the paper itself, but since the paper is spending so much effort online, I was determined to do it their way.)
The Grand Rapids Press is not making it easy. Try to find a contact address for complaints, and you get directed to... Circulation. Or Letters to the Editor, which then sends an automated reply talking about formatting for publication... So, I'll write to you directly.


Tuesday 30 December 2014
-- Mon and Tues "Red and Rover" was actually "Rose is Rose", a different comic, normally seen only on Sundays.

Thursday 1 January 2015
-- Thu "Red and Rover" was actually "Rose is Rose"
-- There were no Wed comics.
-- Thinking I didn't get the home delivery edition, since it's only 3x per week, I:
---- Wrote a lengthy explanation of issues which is somewhere in the Letters to the Editor
---- Requested a new paper for "incomplete paper" for "next delivery day"
---- It was delivered today, Sunday 4 January 2015
---- It was the same, only one day's worth of comics.

Sunday 4 January 2015
-- No Fri or Sat comics following the Sun comics.
-- A dreadful new TV section that has numerous problems -- does no one understand layout and composition any more? Yes, I realize this is a no-win situation for you. But only sometimes listing FOOD and HIST in the listings and not at all in the Channel Guide? And Saturday night split across a page turn unlike Sun-Fri? Etc.

I understand the realities that forced the GRPress to switch to 3x home deliveries, and as far as the new goes, I can live with this partly by the Mlive email digests I get. But the comics? It's as if the newspaper has stopped caring.

I have not tried the digital edition in over a year. It was useless on my Kindle Fire HD then. You promised seven days of comics in the three home deliveries a week -- I'd like that, please.

Thank you for your time.

Dr. Phil
Included in Monday's reply, which never addressed the TV section, was this money quote:

"Yes we have changed the format availability for our comics, moving the bulk of them to a 24/7 availability online."

Excuse me? And I am supposed to know this how?

For example, this wasn't mentioned on the front page of Sunday's paper, NOTE TO READERS:
Familiar features in new locations

You'll see a few differences in your Sunday paper starting today. Some familiar features have moved or changed...

• A free sample edition of TV Weekly replaces the Diversions section. To order TV Weekly, visit xxxxxxx or call 1-800-xxx-xxxx.

• The puzzles...

• The Linda Black Horoscopes...

• The Celebrity Birthdays...

• The Stocks and Mutual Funds pages will not appear in print, but can be found in our Digital Editions... to gain access to our Digital Editions seven days a week.
Notice any comments about the comics? Nope I didn't either.

I did see an explanation for the bizarre new TV section, maybe. It's a freebie promo from some other outfit. But there's no mention if this is a one-off or part of Their Evil Plan to once again try to get rid of a weekly printed TV listing. Which failed the last time they tried.

Look, I get it. The TV section is a lot of work. But I get the Sunday paper and can sketch out a whole week's of television in a few minutes, then during the week we can quickly see the circled items -- or choose something else. And None Of This Requires A Power Switch.

And TV Guide? It has the same problems as this TV Weekly thing. I don't need to have listings for Grand Rapids... and Detroit and Lansing and South Bend IN. The old format had one page, where you see in one glance the conflicts during Prime Time. Not trying to juggle between pages. And certainly not scrolling through endless online pages.

And here's the thing about the funny pages. When I was a kid, that was the only part of the paper I read. As I got older, I started reading the intervening pages before I got to the comics. By ten I could read The New York Times, which didn't even HAVE comics. Or at least not the serial ones. You had to read the Times to get the ones on the Times Op Ed pages. Which I did.

Dear Grand Rapids Press. You are not The New York Times.

Way to go with coming up with a nice way to get kids uninterested in following the comics, in considering a newspaper a thing, and driving them to spend MORE time in front of a screen. Yeah, that'll build your future business base after you've driven off us old fogeys before we've even died.

Oh, and the real howler on Sunday's front page? Right below the column on changes, was this:

"You've got to know how to please the customer in this business."

Shame that the Press doesn't read their own paper. They might learn something.

Remind me again why I am buying a local newspaper subscription?

Dr. Phil
Posted on Dreamwidth
Crossposted on LiveJournal

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