February 9, 2008

Pondering the Journal

I just went down to the road to get my paper, and there wasn't one there. (Update: One showed up, just unusually late.) I'd just received a bill from them yesterday, the 8th, asking for payment from 2/7/2008 to 1/31/2009, so maybe I should just count myself lucky that I got the last couple of papers. (I'd been thinking it had been a very long time since I'd seen a bill from them, but...)

Their customer service seems remarkably awful. I've had no luck stopping my paper with their automated service. When I asked that my held paper count as credit toward future papers I was always told by the machine that my papers would be donated to Gannett's school programs. The paper wouldn't get held anyway while I was gone - or worse, it wouldn't get held while I was gone and then suddenly stop for a while when I was back. This last holiday I called and their automated system was down, so I actually got to talk with a human. It didn't matter. Once again, the paper continued to arrive while we were away. Fortunately the person feeding our cats brought in a pile of papers.

At the same time, their news coverage, with the sole exception of crime reporting, also seems to be spiraling into decline. They've gone from having multiple reporters covering the towns to having one reporter covering the towns and the county. I'm not sure when I last saw a Journal reporter at a Town Board meeting. More and more of their articles are sourced from the Binghamton and Elmira papers, a constant drumbeat toward consolidation into an even weaker newspaper that covers broad area lightly.

Hmmm.... I mostly keep getting the paper delivered because it's much easier to look through it for Dryden-related articles in the print edition, and for the Life section. Every now and then there's a print-only insert worth reading, or a classified worth noting. I'm not sure that's enough to justify $182.79 a year any longer, but we'll see. I guess the Journal's brilliant billing approach does give me the opportunity to see how life without the print edition of the paper is for a few days. It's also good reason to call the Cortland Standard again and see if they'll deliver this far west yet.

Any thoughts? Anyone else out there wishing the Ithaca paper had a little more interest in their surrounding area?

Posted by simon at February 9, 2008 9:00 AM in
Note on photos


David Makar said:

I used the website to stop my papers when I left two days ago. I did the same thing when we went on our honeymoon last year. We didn't have any extra papers or any missing. Once in a great while a paper is really late or doesn't come. When I've called I get the same story, "New delivery person or new route" and then they offer 1-2 weeks of papers added to my subscription. I have no idea when the subscription ends, and its insulting that they offer so little coverage of Dryden.

I'll post more about this on my blog.

Mary Ann said:

One of the nice side benefits of working at the Town Hall in Dryden, is that I was able to subscribe to the Cortland Standard for delivery to my office. It's great to see truly local news. And it's not just DWIs and press releases. There's usually a full page of local economic and development news.

There's usually more and better coverage of Dryden in the Cortland Standard than in the Ithaca Journal. Tho' accuracy is at risk with out reporter Ida Pease.

KAZ said:

I keep meaning to get down to one of their infrequent editorial meetings--the ones to which they invite the public--but I haven't so far. I think the lack of coverage of the towns is awful, and I am grateful that Tompkins Weekly came along to take up at least a portion of the slack. I have to assume that the IJ readership has declined as their coverage has.