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Thread: My latest local newspaper renewal.

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Fort Smith, Arkansas
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    1,516

    My latest local newspaper renewal.

    My local papers renewal notice I received contains small print language saying by renewing I am agreeing that I will pay from two dollars up to five dollars for so called "Premium Editions" as frequently as twice a month. Each charge will reduce my renewal term a length equivalent to the "Premium Edition" charge. The "premium editions are likely to be inserts included with the regular paper delivery although that's isn't clear. There is no option to "opt out." Wondering if other members who subscribe to local paper have seen this. I understand and empathise with newspapers financial condition and I also realize most of their income is ad revenue. I've subscribed for close to 50 years but this marketing method simply rubs me the wrong way. It also seems unethical that it's only included in the fine print located on the back of the notice. On the front it merely says my subscription term is "up to six months." I am disinclined to purchase such a pig in a poke over which I have zero control of cost or content.
    Anyone else run into anything similar?
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  2. #2
    I would definitely let them know you disapprove of their special editions and charging more at random.
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  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
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    SoCal
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    So this . . . is how the written word dies. I would let them know. If they are like the papers out here they will give you the flat rate if you will please, please, just keep taking the paper.
    She said “How many woodworking tools do you need?”
    I said “Why? Do you know someone who is selling some?”


  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Waterford, PA
    Posts
    193
    My local paper has that type of deal for two re-heated obituary tabloids a year. I called and said I did not want those tabloids.

    The clerk said the paper could not omit them from individual subscribers, but since I did not want them I would not be charged for them. Those obituaries would already have been in the daily paper, and the paper wanted to charge me a second time for them. And, on top of it all, those obituaries are paid ads themselves when they appear the first time.

    If I had been forced to pay for the "memorial" tabloids, I told the clerk to cancel the subscription.

    Everything about that deal was slimy.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    SE PA - Central Bucks County
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    48,036
    Our local paper is free and still seems to be able to maintain itself via advertising. It's well liked and well-read.

    I certainly wouldn't accept the requirement you are being faced with for something you don't want.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    San Antonio, TX
    Posts
    276
    Is this any different than the magazines doing a special "double" issue? One (slightly) thicker issue counting as two issues.

  7. #7
    Has your local paper been sold recently? Some of these conglomerates are a pain. I refuse to buy the local city's paper, it is part of a huge conglomerate.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
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    SE PA - Central Bucks County
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    48,036
    There are very few remaining "independent" local papers left these days...Mr Andrew has hit the nail on the head. My hometown's newspaper was a very unique "tri-weekly" paper for many decades, but it was bought up a few years ago by a big publisher and the largest part of the content is no longer generated locally and there are few remaining local employees.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Lewiston, Idaho
    Posts
    26,798
    Our local newspaper is locally owned and yet they own 3 newspapers (IIRC) in the immediate area. They are struggling financially like a lot of local newspapers. Their billing is straightforward, however. We travel a bit and have the paper stopped when we are out of town. They have been very good at those times when we needed their assistance. They have an online website and we often follow it when we are out of town.
    Ken

  10. #10
    Our local paper is part of a national chain. Several years ago, they combined the paper from the two largest cities together to save costs, but that meant local news suffered. If there is a basketball / football game on Saturday that doesn't finish by 6:00 PM, then there is no coverage in the Sunday paper. Sunday paper cost $4, but several Dollar Tree Stores sell same paper for $1. Subscription (Sunday only) costs around $13 for 13 weeks, until they start adding "Mickey Mouse Fees." If you subscribe using CC, about three weeks into subscription, they try to hit your CC for renewal. That's why I pay using a VISA gift card, or check. Drain the balance off gift card ASAP. Last subscription was for 13 weeks, and about three weeks in they called saying they were having trouble with my CC for renewal. I had paid with a check. Formally I had done a two 26 week subscriptions in a row. Canceled at end of second subscription, as they had attempted to hit CC (VISA gift card) for renewal half way through the 26 weeks. They said my subscriptions had run out earlier, till I showed them the paper work for subscription. In my math, two 26 week subscriptions equal a year. Newspaper is putting itself out of business with shoddy business practices.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Plainfield, IL
    Posts
    45
    I get Sunday only Chicago tribune. They do the same thing with reducing subscription period based on cost of those special editions. In the past I ignored it, figured it was legit. Then I started investigating further and it turns out my subscription period was being reduced even for special editions published on other days of the week when I only get sundays.

    After calling to complain, they reluctantly credited me. Then they continued to deduct for special editions on days I don’t get the paper. So, I don’t think it’s an uncommon tactic for newspapers and be sure they aren’t deducting for days you don’t receive.

    I ended up canceling due to their practice. Only reason I subscribed in the first place is my wife liked the ads/coupons.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
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    E TN, near Knoxville
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    7,518
    After getting the same paper for mayby 45 years I dropped it recently when the cost went to almost $60 a month. Sad day.
    They also charged extra for extra features.

    JKJ

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Columbus, OH
    Posts
    1,567
    Yes, the Columbus Dispatch is doing the same thing. Reducing subscription period to cover cost of "Premium Editions", which are basically 7 or 8 specialty magazines a year that I don't want. The Dispatch has also been jacking the subscription prices by 25-40% at the end of those shortened subscription periods. I talked them back down to a reasonable price once, but the second time they were not willing to deal very much. I'm very close to cutting that off. Wife wants the Sunday edition coupons but I doubt she's getting coupon value anywhere near the cost of the subscription. Think that when I retire I cut the subscription and just go buy a copy on Sunday if I'm out and about.

    Their business model makes no sense to me. they are blatantly pricing themselves out of business. Particularly with the younger generation that I talk to here at work, I haven't met one recently that subscribes to the local paper. They get their news in other ways.
    Last edited by Brian Tymchak; 03-05-2019 at 8:50 AM.
    Brian

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  14. #14
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    Yorktown, VA
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    2,434
    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Mattaliano View Post
    .... Only reason I subscribed in the first place is my wife liked the ads/coupons.
    Same here, although my papers (I subscribe to two of them) do have enough local interest items to make them worth reading. They contain police blotters from the local area, which let me know what kind of crimes are happening around me, and they publish news of local entertainment/cultural activities/farmers markets etc. that is usually not as conveniently available from other sources. We also have pretty good coverage of development proposals, special use permits, and variance requests being pitched at board of supervisor meetings. The papers are clearly struggling and have downsized reporting staffs, which limits the number/kind of events covered, and raised prices. Both provide digital editions via e-mail and I can foresee a certain point in time when they will eliminate the paper copy entirely. The coupons are still there for you to print if needed.

    Maybe because they are periodicals, but for whatever reason, print media seems less sensationalistic and more conservative than broadcast media. Newspapers are not always proclaiming breaking news, prefacing stories with "this just in, or exclusive on channel _", hyping the accuracy of their weather reporting, or turning a normal weather event into a stampede that strips milk, bread and water from local store shelves. You really have to filter the chaff and bias from what you read, particularly on the internet, but even more so from what you hear on broadcast media. I guess there will come a day when digital data and the cell phone rule the information world and print media goes the way of cursive writing.

  15. #15
    Our local paper was a good paper 20 years ago. Average daily edition was 40 pages. Thanksgiving day, it would be more like 160 pages if you count the ads. I got the paper a few weeks ago because a headline was about a local issue I have an interest in. Total paper was about 18 pages including the classifieds and comics. 20 years ago, it was 35 cents a day and $1.00 on Sunday. Then it went to 50 cents a day and within two years jumped to a dollar a day. Sundays went from $1 to $2. They put click bait on places like facebook, but if you want to read more than the first few lines of the article, you have to buy an on-line subscription. The reporters are worse, the accuracy has fallen off and in general, it has deteriorated into a tabloid in it's journalistic quality. It has been years since I got the paper delivered. When I signed up, it took several phone calls and 2 weeks until the paper started coming. During the winter, the paper often was not delivered at all. Sometimes three days of papers would show up the same day. The Sunday morning paper was sometimes delivered Monday morning, even in nice weather. So I let the subscription run out. Idiots kept delivering for another 3 months.

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