December 2012 Community Journal Newsletter
Talking Postal at NNA
Discussing postal issues at the Interlink booth during the NNA convention in Charleston were, from left, Interlink founder Bill Garber; Interlink customer Bill Tubbs, publisher of the North Scott Press in Iowa; NNA postal expert Max Heath; and Interlink General Manager Brad Hill. (Click here to see more photos) Interlink photo/Helen Sosniecki
Clock is Ticking on Switch to IMb
By Brad Hill
“That is the sound of inevitability” – a popular line from the 1999 flick The Matrix. Those words come to mind when I consider the impending death of the decades-old POSTNET barcode as the US Postal Service shifts to the new Intelligent Mail barcode for addressing. Assumingly, as was the original monotone delivery, the USPS script offers mailers a simple choice: Print the Intelligent Mail barcode or face the consequence of losing automation rates.
The ultimatum applies to all newspapers mailing under Periodical or Standard Mail permits and printing barcodes on address labels, regardless of whether or not the newspapers ever actually pass a barcode scanner.
USPS uses the new barcode, which stores nearly three times more information, as part of a system designed primarily to measure and, theoretically, improve network efficiency.
The cost to change? Perhaps a new label printer if yours isn’t capable of printing the new barcode, and a few minutes to sign up and acquire a Mailer ID (MID) on the USPS gateway (gateway.usps.com). And, of course, it requires compatible software like Interlink Circulation.
The cost of not changing? Not complying means dropping the barcode from your address area entirely. This can affect postage from less than $200 to several thousand dollars per year, depending on the number of papers being mailed and how much of the mailing is being sent at 5-digit or costlier rates. Not barcoding also can increase the risk of distant delivery problems, and with it the chance that observant subscribers might blame the mailer for those problems instead of the USPS.
It’s a decision each publisher must make for themselves, weighing the cost of losing automation rates carefully. If you’re an Interlink customer and would like assistance with the change, contact our support team, and we’ll gladly help.
Act fast: Postal requirements will inevitably change on Jan. 28, 2013, the first day the IMb becomes mandatory to claim automation rates.
“Post Industrial Journalism: Adapting to the Present”
NOVEMBER 27, 2012 –Today, The Tow Center released a report, “Post Industrial Journalism: Adapting to the Present” by C.W. Anderson, Emily Bell and Clay Shirky. http://bit.ly/ToClUw
Here are the printers we have confirmed for IMb compatibility with Interlink Circulation:
Epson DFX 8000
Epson DFX 9000
Okidata ML 390
Okidata ML 490
Okidata ML 491
Okidata ML 590
Okidata ML 591
Okidata Pacemark 3410
Known to be incompatible:
Okidata ML 320
Okidata ML 321
Okidata ML 395
Okidata ML 420
Okidata ML 421
Also, most inkjet addressing systems are now compatible with IMb, as are all laser printers for Avery-style cut-sheet labels.
So What’s a Community Newspaper Fan
to Think About Post Industrial Journalism?
By William E. (Bill) Garber
Here’s my take.
The authors are incredibly well informed and hugely insightful. And, by all means, do read the article. If you are a journalist, I am confident you will be inspired.
When it comes to their love affair with newspapers, the authors have lost their innocence. So if you are a publisher, I’m here to keep you from losing all hope after reading this blunt assertion:
“[We are not writing] about ‘the future of the news industry,’ both because much of that future is already here and because there is no such thing as the news industry anymore.” (My emphasis)
Unlike John Lennon /Paul McCartney in Yesterday, the authors know what went wrong. And, they will never again believe in yesterday. Too bad for them.
All my troubles seemed so far away,
Now it looks as though they’re here to stay,
Oh, I believe in yesterday.
I’m not half the man I used to be,
There’s a shadow hanging over me,
Oh, yesterday came suddenly.
Had to go I don’t know, she wouldn’t say.
Something wrong, now I long for yesterday.
Love was such an easy game to play,
Now I need a place to hide away,
Oh, I believe in yesterday.
Had to go I don’t know, she wouldn’t say.
Something wrong, now I long for yesterday.
Love was such an easy game to play,
Now I need a place to hide away,
Oh, I believe in yesterday.
Listen and watch Paul Mcartney solo Yesterday here: http://bit.ly/ToELCz. 24 million views confirm there is something in yesterday.
Clearly, I’m still more than a little old fashioned. I believe in yesterday. And girls. And love. And, community newspapers.
While the authors have moved on, I’m thinking we might do well to move back, back to a more pure industrial model if you will. I believe there is real, even industrial-sized hope wherever people feel compelled by a physical place. A town, if you will.
Such a place can be defined by the school district, the voting precinct, and the taxing district that encompasses a person’s residence. It can be defined by the roads connecting them and everyone else with whom they share their ‘local’ suppliers of goods and services. It can be as simple as a ZIP Code. It can also be that still warming memory of what surrounds the first place one called home or of the place their parents or family members ‘came from’ or ‘settled in’ as their family home.
There is intrinsic value defined by an ongoing interest in the culture of these places both historical and contemporary.
While the authors have wearied of attempting to restart the great engines of journalism’s near past, going back a good deal further reminds us that in reality at the personal level, the value proposition remains.
Indeed, whatever nemesis we believe the Internet to be, and the authors see the Internet as having fully disrupted the industrial model, the Internet may well have actually enhanced the value of the place in which, from which and about which community newspapers publish.
The Internet is placeless.
People are not.
Let’s go all the way back to the days of Saint Benjamin Franklin, printer (not publisher–subject of what must be another commentary). His was a pretty amazing value proposition.
Assuming Franklin sold his ‘periodicals’ for a penny, we discover that in terms of commodities such as corn or wheat, a penny’s worth of grain in Franklin’s time would cost 25 cents today. However, a penny in the pocket of a resident of Philadelphia in terms of the wage at that time would be a $5 bill today.
Cheap corn is due to technology.
Happily, news is not corn.
Clearly, the publisher of a median-circulation community newspaper these days would gladly abandon making advertising sales calls if they were selling their weekly newspaper by subscription for $5 a week to the same number of subscribers they now have. In short, returning to Franklin’s industrial model that was free of advertising may actually help guide us in restarting the financial engine that may well support community journalism and a good deal more.
What have changed are not the social needs or even many of the personal needs people experience. And certainly the financial resources are more than up to satisfying those needs when compellingly met. Just like in Saint Benjamin’s time.
What have changed are the channels and infrastructure the audience depends on to feed their ‘periodical’ needs. What is especially promising is that the audience is actually funding the infrastructure, something the authors ironically consider negatively disruptive.
In any event, while the publisher will not own the infrastructure, the publisher will own what appears on the screen because they will have created it or assembled and arranged it in useful, attractive and compelling ways. And that service is almost identical to what the audiences experienced when the Internet of 1750 was the Postal Service (Right, Saint Ben was the first Postmaster General) and paper was the display screen and the bit jockey that made it all work was Saint Benjamin’s printers devil.
So, can a publisher expect to garner $250 per year from a household that is now spending $25 or so a year for their newspaper? I know. You are LOL … or more likely ROTFLMAO.
Rather than a direct answer, I believe a comparison will be much more inspiring. A very large number if not already a majority of community newspaper subscribing households are already spending $250 a month for a pair of smart phones and related services.
And, the same household is also spending another $125-$175 a month for their cable and Internet and phone access services.
All total, the household members that publishers fear will yell, scream, stamp their feet, and threaten to cancel their subscription if the publisher raises the subscription price from $25 to $30 a year make up the very same household that is spending $375 a month to be distracted by generic information and fantasies.
But, of course, an extra $5 a year will not secure the future of community newspapering. The authors are right. The industrial engine that is big time newspapering has run out of advertising steam. Can community publishing be far behind?
Well, when a household is spending $375 a month to access generic content on the phones in their collective pockets and the screens in their house, $25 a month for amazing, personal, endless, real-time, totally local, and so-scarce-that-there-is-absolutely-no-substitute content seems to be totally cheap by comparison.
Actually, it really is all in the comparison.
Here is the industrial model for the future of community publishing.
It is not the press. It is not the truck. It is not the road. It is the technologies that make possible such a service for which $25 a month will seem nearly free by comparison.
And, when an insatiable digital audience is in full flower, there will absolutely be a way to once again profitably integrate the publishing business with the rest of the economic base that shares the same place and the same audience.
Households spending $375 a month for content access can be expected to be worth 10% of that to the provider of amazing local digital services to the community. And, while most revenue will come directly from the audience, a substantial portion will once again come from the segment of the community which has historically ‘advertised’ in the paper.
The task ahead is to define the services that will seem nearly free at little more than $1.19 a day per household.
Most will know it when they see it. Others will see it ahead of time. What are you seeing? Drop me an email if you are seeing something interesting. firstname.lastname@example.org
Ready to Greet NNA Attendees
Interlink founder Bill Garber, left, with Associate Sales Manager Jessica Hughey, Senior Sales and Marketing Manager Helen Sosniecki and General Manager Brad Hill as they prepare to greet NNA attendees at the Charleston convention.
USPS is Undermining Newspapers’ Customers
By R. Patrick Martin
Editorial Page Editor
Arnold Imperial Leader, Festus MO
(Reprinted with permission from 10-4-12 edition)
Amidst the talk of federal budget deficits – and talk is too polite of a word, usually – only occasionally does the subject of the U.S. Postal Service get into the conversation.
The rancor over Medicare, Medicaid, military spending and which candidate can best recite the price of milk usually overshadows the good old post office.
My objectivity on this topic may be suspect for reasons of personal history, but at least it’s been balanced between receiving and paying. My dad worked for the post office. Nowadays, instead of cashing them, we write checks to the post office every week to deliver the Leader.
The relationship between the post office and our newspaper has been good to excellent for the 18 years we’ve been in business. We get a little sore with each other once in while, but for the most part, the service has been dependable and the local people who carry the mail do their jobs well.
That relationship is light years away from what is happening with postal bigwigs in Washington, D.C., and the newspaper industry in general.
The Postal Service, according to the National Newspaper Association, is losing $25 million per day. It is being battered on a number of fronts, from a decades-long decline of first-class mail to high labor costs to an oppressive requirement to pre-fund its pension obligations, a requirement not in effect for any other federal agency.
Email is eating its lunch. The volume of mail is declining rapidly while costs rise. Revenue down, expenses up is not a good combination for any business.
The Postal Service has tried to stop the bleeding by closing post offices (always an unpopular move) and considering elimination of Saturday mail (another unpopular suggestion).
Now it has decided to save money by undermining its longest-standing and most faithful customer, the newspaper industry.
The Postal Service has entered into an agreement with a private direct-mail company, Valassis, to offer bulk mail rate deals not available to anyone else. Valassis sends out weekly packets of advertising inserts in its RedPlum mailers. Those same inserts are the lifeblood for metropolitan daily newspapers, usually in their Sunday editions.
They are also valuable to weekly newspapers who publish on, say, Thursday.
NNA is fighting the Postal Service in court on the Valassis deal, arguing that it has no business picking winners and losers in the advertising business by offering favored rates to one company. The Postal Service has admitted the deal is designed to move advertising inserts from Sunday newspapers into Valassis’ new weekend “marriage mail” packets.
Here’s the real kicker. According to the NNA, the deal could cost the newspaper business roughly $1 billion in business. If everything works out exactly as planned, the cut rates offered to Valassis would net the Postal Service about $15 million in new revenue over three years.
That is peanuts – no, peanut husks – compared with the $25 million per day the Postal Service is losing. AND it comes out of the hide of one of its best customers. Does that make any sense?
I’ve never understood why the Postal Service is expected to pay for itself. Does the U.S. Army pay for itself? Does the Festus Police Department? The Rock Community Fire Protection District? The Federal Aviation Administration? Do any road and bridge departments of any county or city in America?
No. These are providers of essential services that we expect will be paid for by our taxes – defense, highways, police protection. And yes, the Postal Service.
As taxpayers, we have a right to expect these services be provided as efficiently as possible. And, yes, users should pay something for some of those, such as landing or docking fees or stamps for letters.
The Post Office is an essential service and has been since colonial times. What is the big stink about it being subsidized?
We all should pay for it, just like we do the CIA or the Department of Labor. It should be a federal service, not a profit center.
Neither should those agencies stick their noses in private enterprise and bestow most favored status on individual companies at the expense of others. That would be like the FAA decreeing that American Airlines will pay 10 bucks to land planes while other airlines will pay $20. Why?
That’s the Valassis deal in a nutshell.
Is the Postal Service so desperate that it can’t see its own unfairness? Let’s hope the courts do. It will set a scary precedent if this one stands.
(Patrick Martin may be reached at Leader825@aol.com )
Heath at Missouri Convention
Interlink customer Mindy Crandall, circulation manager of the Douglas County Herald in Ava, MO, asks NNA postal expert Max Heath a question following his session at the Missouri Press Association convention this fall. Also waiting to discuss a postal issue with Heath was Interlink customer Frank Martin III, publisher of the West Plains Daily Quill in West Plains, MO. Interlink photo/Helen Sosniecki
Welcome to the Interlink Community!
Interlink would like to welcome the newest members of the Interlink Circulation community:
|Carroll County Connexion (IN)||Alice24-7.com (TX)|
|Stamford Star (TX)||Tri-Town Weekly (ME)|
|Advance-Monticellonian (AR)||Cornell Courier (WI)|
|Cadott Sentinel (WI)||Meeker News (OK)|
|Oxford Standard (NE)||Choctaw Times (OK)|
|Humphrey Democrat (NE)||Arnold Imperial Leader (MO)|
|Jefferson County Leader (MO)||Linn-Palmer Record (KS)|
|Press and Standard (SC)||Sparta Expositor (TN)|
|Manning Times (SC)||Port Orford News (OR)|
|Forest-Blade (GA)||News & Sentinel (NH)|
|Clinton Chronicle (SC)||Wayne Herald (NE)|
|Midland News Shopper (NE)||Paynesville Press/Eden Valley (MN)|
|Washington Journal (IA)||Mount Pleasant News (IA)|
|Fairfield Ledger (IA)||Golden Triangle Shopper (IA)|
|American Journal/The Village (ME)||Tuttle Times (OK)|
|Rotan Advance (TX)||Mineola Monitor (TX)|
|Wood County Democrat (TX)||Lindale News & TImes (TX)|
|Crockett Times (TN)||Atlanta Citizen Journal (TX)|
|Cass County Sun (TX)||Bowie County Citizen Tribune (TX)|
|Quitman County Democrat (MS)||Pittsburg Gazette (TX)|
|Daingerfield Bee (TX)||Thomas Tribune (OK)|
|Mountain Echo (MO)||DeWitt Era-Enterprise (AR)|
Keep Your System Updated
By Melanie Goff
Technical Support Analyst
For many of you, opening Interlink Circulation, making changes and closing issue is fast and easy.
For others, a sluggish computer system makes closing issue a slow, frustrating process.
That’s why it is so important to keep your system updated.
It can be painful to use programs, including Interlink Circulation, on your computer when it is old or slow. But never fear! Options exist for you, or those who handle your computer maintenance, to optimize your computer’s performance.
If you have done the basics of freeing up space or doing a disk defragmentation, and your computer is still running slow, it may be time to take things to the next level. If your computer is older, there is a good chance the processing speed will be slower than newer computers. You can help offset this by applying some of these helpful tips from Microsoft below:
- Delete unused programs.
- Tell your computer which programs to load during startup.
- Limit use of certain visual effects.
- Scan your computer for viruses.
- Find your computer’s speed using Windows Experience Index
- Add memory
- UPDATE REGULARLY! (Microsoft, 2012)
Updating regularly is an especially important tip to remember. Not doing your Windows updates can affect the performance of your computer, and Interlink Customer Service has seen how neglecting to do updates can even cause issues using Interlink Circulation. Many also would be surprised how significantly you can improve the speed and performance of your computer by simply adding more RAM. You can purchase a RAM card for the fraction of the price of a brand new computer. You just pop the card into the computer, and you’re done! If you have a Windows Vista or newer, you can use the ReadyBoost feature which uses a flash drive to increase memory (Microsoft, 2012).
We understand that a new computer for your Circulation Department may not be an option at this time at your company. Luckily, the tips from Microsoft listed above can provide an alternative, less costly solution to improving your computer’s performance.
For more detailed instructions on how to implement suggestions for optimization, please click on the links in the Reference section. Of course, contact your publisher or IT department for permission before taking any steps listed in the articles.
Microsoft. (2012). Optimize Windows Vista for better performance. Retrieved from http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/windows-vista/Optimize-Windows-Vista-for-better-performance
Microsoft. (2012). RAM: Add more memory to your computer. Retrieved from http://www.microsoft.com/athome/setup/addmemory.aspx#fbid=AUqBegFlDb5
New Associate Sales Manager Joins Interlink
Interlink is pleased to welcome Jessica Hughey to the staff in the new position of Associate Sales Manager.
Jessica comes to Interlink with 20+ years of hands-on experience in the newspaper circulation industry, having worked for both national (USA Today, Investor’s Business Daily) and local publications. She also worked as a technical support representative, supporting end users of circulation software.
A native of Michigan, Jessica is married to her high-school sweetheart and has three grown children.
In her spare time, she enjoys the company of three very spoiled Pomeranians and also likes to dabble in ceramic tile, sewing and jewelry making.Jessica also has worked as an extra in several films, working alongside such celebrities as Gerard Butler and Hugh Jackman.
Jessica may be reached at email@example.com
Take a bow…
Trapp, the Sun featured in documentary
Interlink customer Bob Trapp, his newspaper – the Rio Grande Sun in Espanola, NM – and its staff are featured in a recently released documentary, “The Sun Never Sets.”
The 55-minute film, produced by Ben Daitz, is touted as “the story of a small town newspaper that causes traffic jams when it’s hawked on the street.”
The film’s official trailer may be seen at http://www.newdealfilms.com/documentaries/the-sun-never-sets. The video also may be ordered from New Deal Films.
In the film’s trailer, viewers see Trapp, the paper’s founder and publisher, explain his commitment to doing the job of delivering the news no matter the pressure, hear employees explain their dedication to the Sun, and also see the collection of rocks that Trapp’s son explains all came through the office window at one time or another over the years.
Vernon Named NNA Region 7 Director
Longtime Interlink customer Dane Vernon, president of the Vernon Publishing Inc., in Missouri, has been appointed National Newspaper Association Region 7 director serving Kansas, Nebraska, Iowa and Missouri.
Vernon was appointed by the NNA board to fill the unexpired term of John Edgecombe Jr., who was elected treasurer of the NNA board. According to the NNA announcement, Vernon will serve until Sept. 14, 2013, and then be eligible for election as Region 7 director.
Vernon Publishing owns five weekly newspapers and one shopper in central Missouri. Vernon was born and raised in Eldon, MO, home of the group’s flagship newspaper The Eldon Advertiser, a family-owned weekly since 1948.
Quitman County Democrat owners Bill and Carol Knight are congratulated by Interlink Senior Sales and Marketing Manager Helen Sosniecki, right, for winning an Interlink Circulation conversion during the ArkLaMiss conference in November in Vicksburg, MS.
Baranczyk Wins NNA Drawing
Merle Baranczyk, publisher of the Mountain Mail in Salida, CO, was the winner of Interlink’s drawing for a free conversion held during the NNA Convention and Tradeshow in Charleston, SC.
What Our Customers Are Saying…
“We’re getting better delivery AND saving about $40 a week with Interlink.”
Tuttle Times (OK)
Monday, May 27, 2013
Thursday, July 4, 2013
Postal Holidays: Upcoming postal holidays with no regular mail delivery
Monday, Feb. 18, 2013: Washington’s Birthday
January 28, 2013: POSTNET retirement. IMb required for automation discounts
January 2013: USPS resumes Network Rationalization (facility consolidations)
Thank You for Referring Interlink…
Interlink would like to say a sincere “Thank You” to those who have provided referrals that have generated new Interlink clients recently:
Melinda Lucas, The Albany News (TX)
“Linotype the Film”
- Even if you don’t have a chance to see the entire film, journalists of all ages are likely to enjoy the movie’s official trailer. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=avDuKuBNuCk
Dailies Circulation Slide Over
- According to this report, the long slide in daily newspaper circulation may be over. http://www.medialifemagazine.com/welcome-halt-to-newspapers-circ-slide/ The report also notes that “Digital editions now account for 15.3 percent of all newspaper circulation, up from 9.8 percent at this time last year.”
MPA Promotes the Power of Print
- The Mississippi Press Association shared the following link to its “There is power in print” campaign. http://mspress.org/displaycommon.cfm?an=1&subarticlenbr=187
For more information, contact MPA Executive Director Layne Bruce at 601-981-3060 or firstname.lastname@example.org.