Mandatory program update for January postal changes

By Brad Hill

Interlink publishes a new version of Circulation every month, but the January 2017 release is particularly important and should be installed immediately when prompted. In addition to the regular updates to mail routing, upcoming version 2.4.20 also includes support for the new postage rates that go into effect this month. Updating will ensure new rates and new postage statements are available for both Periodical and Standard Mail, which are required for use with all mailings dated on or after January 22.

Version 2.4.20 must be installed prior to running ‘Close Issue’ to create labels and other mailing reports for issues mailed under the new rates and forms.

Interlink Circulation uses the date of your mailing to determine whether to use the old postage statements or new ones. Changes to the electronic equivalent (eDoc) of postage statements are also included in the same update.

For most newspapers, the impact of January’s postage rate increase will be minimal, with Periodical Mail costs increasing less than one percent overall. Outside-county sacks and trays carry the bulk of the increase.

Standard Mail is being renamed USPS Marketing Mail, and will see rates increase between two and three percent for flats overall, but closer to one percent for most shoppers. See Max Heath’s article in the January edition of Publishers’ Auxiliary for a chart with and detailed explanation of Marketing Mail rate changes.

As always, please let us know if you have any questions about the upcoming release of Interlink Circulation, or changes to postage rates.

 

Be prepared when electronic documentation (eDoc) fails

The number of newspapers replacing hard copy postage reports with eDoc (Electronic Documentation) continues to grow. Getting started is quicker and easier than ever, and the feedback is overwhelmingly positive among those who have submitted eDoc for a few issues.

Moving to electronic documentation changes more than just how that information is shared, however, and it is imperative that newspapers understand what to do when eDoc stops working. For that reason, and because not all postal employees are well informed yet regarding the contingency plan, Interlink is re-running the following article.

By Brad Hill
President

Abandoning hard copy postage statements in favor of electronic submission offers several advantages to newspapers, not the least of which is welcomed convenience to both publishers and Post Office employees alike.

But what happens when the ‘e’ in eDoc stops working?

Can publishers be assured that the benefits of going electronic aren’t outweighed by some additional risk of having their papers refused or delayed when it’s time to mail? After all, those printed forms have certainly proven to be a reliable medium. Today, I bring you good news, mixed with a word of caution:

THE GOOD NEWS: The Postal Service has developed a contingency plan to ensure acceptance continues when electronic submission becomes unavailable, for mailings that typically send documentation electronically. Better still, this plan places only a minimal burden of recordkeeping on the publisher during the outage.

WORD OF CAUTION: The plan does not appear to be well-understood yet by postal workers at facilities where the use of electronic documentation is minimal. Fortunately, the 10-page document that describes this plan is available for public download on USPS website, which should minimize local push back.

The plan, as it is written, is fairly straightforward: Inform the post office anytime eDoc cannot be sent, log a few details for each postage statement that is missed, and submit the actual postage statements electronically within three days of the system coming back online. Hardcopy postage statements should not be entered when electronic documentation is unavailable, as might be assumed. This is to prevent duplicate postage statements from being entered into PostalOne! for the same mailing once electronic versions are eventually received.

Each mailing entered during the outage must be accompanied by a Customer Mailing Log. The following should be included for each postage statement that normally would have been sent, using one line per postage statement:

* Permit Holder

* Permit Number

* Total Pieces

* Total Postage

* Mailer Job ID

That information can be found on the front page of hardcopy postage statements produced by Interlink Circulation, with the exception of the mailer job ID, which can be any number you choose for tracking purposes.

The contingency plan identifies three scenarios for why electronic documentation might become unavailable:

  1. PostalOne!outage – bugs, maintenance, etc. on USPS end.
  2. Mailer outage – system crash, loss of power or Internet, etc. at your office.
  3. PostalOne! system delayed file transmission – which does not apply to Interlink’s method of sending eDoc; this can be a problem for Mail.Dat users.

 

Except in the case of PostalOne! outages, a ticket must be opened with the PostalOne! Help Desk to inform them when you are unable to submit eDoc. That can be done by calling (800) 522-9085, or sending an email to postalone@usps.gov.

Failure to submit eDoc should not prevent your mail from being entered and processed, even if it’s your fault. Understanding this plan and being ready to share it with your postmaster if necessary is the best way to ensure delivery of your paper isn’t affected when problems arise.

A copy of the PostalOne! External Contingency Plan is available for download here.

Marked copy rule changed for periodicals mailers

By Max Health, NNA Postal Committee Chair

Many members have written to thank the National Newspaper Association for its work in getting the “marked copy” rule changed for Periodicals mailers. We know quite a few of you are considering whether you want to make the change.

I wanted to let you know that this alternate process is about to be opened to the “world.” That means magazines, newsletters and other types of publications that may use Periodicals permits may soon flood the U.S. Postal Service help desk with requests to make a change. We have about another week for NNA members to beta-test this new process before it goes public. This was a consideration granted to NNA by the USPS Business Mail Entry people, and we were grateful for the head start.

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PUB AUX LIVE: Having trouble with your periodical mailing?

From NNA

In this session, Max Heath will focus on the best practices when prepping mail for Periodicals class mail. He will cover questions about how to get the best results when entering mail for distribution to subscribers. As a bonus, Brad Hill will walk you through how to track your newspaper using the USPS Full Service option. Leading the discussion will be NNA host Stan Schwartz.

Oct. 6 at 11 a.m. Eastern/10 a.m. Central
Registration fee: $30 for NNA members/$65 for non-NNA members
Register now for this webinar.

PUB AUX LIVE, featuring revenue-generating ideas for community newspapers, is brought to you by The National Newspaper Association, in partnership with the Iowa Newspaper Foundation.

 

Interlink Circulation provides annual Statement of Ownership report

The USPS Statement of Ownership, Management, and Circulation, also known as PS Form 3526, is required by the post office annually to show proof of continued eligibility for mailing under a periodical permit.

Interlink Circulation includes this report and can automatically fill in most of the required information. You can find the statement of ownership with the other reports in the periodical mail delivery report category. If you have not printed this report from Interlink Circulation before, some setup is required to ensure all parts of the form are complete and accurate.

To configure the 3526 form, open your periodical publication in Interlink Circulation then:

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NNA Summit—Early Bird Registration Deadline is Feb. 22

From NNA

Lucy Dalglish, a nationally-recognized First Amendment advocate and lawyer, will be the keynote speaker at the National Newspaper Association’s Community Newspaper Leadership Summit, March 16-17 in Washington. Dalglish, who is currently dean of the Philip Merrill College of Journalism at the University of Maryland, will address community newspaper publishers, editors and NNA Foundation News Fellows at the National Press Club the evening of March 17.

NNA President Chip Hutcheson, publisher of The Times-Leader, urged publishers to make time for the 2016 summit. With a high-octane election year rolling out, Congress will be under pressure to make major decisions on issues that affect newspapers. NNA members will visit Capitol Hill the afternoon of March 17. Among the issues they will tackle with their congressional delegations:

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Practical workshop for printers responsible for newspaper mailing announced

From NNA

A hard-hitting educational workshop for printers and publishers that prepare Periodicals newspapers has been announced by the National Newspaper Association for March 16, 2016, in Washington.

Practical and detailed, the event will focus on mail preparation techniques to help newspapers improve on-time delivery in the mail. This education program is one of many steps NNA is taking to address an outbreak of subscriber complaints about mail delivery.

NNA President Chip Hutcheson, publisher of The Times Leader in Princeton, KY, said attendees should come prepared to dig into the details of creating bundles and containers, targeting critical entry times so newspapers do not miss transportation opportunities and utilizing new U.S. Postal
Service service hubs. They should also bring their own concerns for top USPS officials to address. NNA will also unravel some of the complexity surrounding electronic documentation and Full-Service IMb.

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PostalOne! system restored and functional

From USPS

The PostalOne! system is restored and fully functional. In addition, other applications affected by this issue (CAPS, FAST, eVS) are available. eDoc submitters should begin submitting their electronic mailing information immediately and Acceptance Units will begin processing mailings and the reconciliation process described in the PostalOne! Contingency plan.

The application team will continue to monitor the system. If you experience any issues, please contact the PostalOne! Help Desk at 800.522.9085.

Pub Aux Live discussion on practical use of eDoc

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Join Interlink president Brad Hill and NNA Postal Committee chair Max Heath for Pub Aux Live on Thursday, August 13 at 11:00 AM (Eastern).  Discussion will focus on the practical uses of eDoc.

Registration can be completed here with a $30 fee for NNA members and $65 for non-members.