December 2013 Community Journal Newsletter

2013 ArkLaMiss Circulation Conferencephoto/Jessica Hughey

Discussing postal issues

Wyatt Emmerich of Emmerich Newspapers (standing) chats with (clockwise) NNA Postal expert Max Heath, Columbian-Progress Publisher Adam Prestridge, Interlink Senior Sales and Marketing Manager Helen Sosniecki and Petal News Publisher David Gustafson during the ArkLaMiss Circulation Conference in November in Vicksburg, MS. For more photos from the conference, click here.

photo_bill_garberWow! Another sharp turn on Postal Service roller coaster

By William E. (Bill) Garber
Interlink founder

When the Postal Service announced the day after Thanksgiving that they will not require Full-Service Intelligent Mail® next month as planned, Helen Sosniecki, Interlink’s senior sales and marketing manager and NNA McKinney Award-recognized former community newspaper publisher, was not particularly surprised.

“Long-time publishers have been down this road with the Postal Service before so it’s not surprising that many may have taken the January deadline with a grain of salt. It’s also why there is always such a flurry of activity whenever a Postal Service deadline is implemented,” she said.

Many Interlink clients will remember their adventure as the Postal Service started integrating Coding Accuracy Support System (CASS) requirements 20 years ago.

After a series of false starts and negotiated delays, there came a moment when there was no alternative.

When that moment came, as I recall, the National Newspaper Association (NNA) headline on Max Heath’s postal column in Publisher’s Auxiliary read: CASS Process Now! It stretched clear across the top of the page.

Interlink clients, as many readers here will recall, felt no sense of being smacked by that exclamation mark. Most had for a year or more been routinely CASS processing their list through Interlink.

Interlink always has attracted publishers who believe that getting in front and staying in front of the Postal Service technology curve is in the best interest of both their subscribers and their mail room.

Interlink’s president and an NNA representative on the Postal Service’s Mailer’s Technical Advisory Committee (MTAC) Bradley Hill is committed to keeping Interlink clients comfortably at the front of the technology curve.

“Full-Service Intelligent Mail® is deeply embedded in the Postal Service strategy for reducing their expenses while improving delivery performance for every class of mail,” he said.

“While the Postal Rate Commission (PRC) invalidated the way the Postal Service sought to implement this requirement, the PRC explained to the Postal Service how to go about requiring Full-Service Intelligent Mail® without running afoul of its finding,” he added. “I have no doubt that Full-Service Intelligent Mail® will be required.”

In short, Full-Service Intelligent Mail® remains in the future for all mailers, just not starting next month.

Like CASS processing, when Full-Service Intelligent Mail® is required Interlink clients will be relaxed because they will already be using Full-Service Intelligent Mail®.

This delay is technically a good thing, as Max Heath says. There are technical issues that would have made the Jan. 26 deadline more than a little awkward at local post offices. These issues are well known and already are scheduled for resolution shortly, some even by next month.

Interlink clients would absolutely have been able to meet the Jan. 26, 2014, deadline. Delaying that deadline will certainly make the transition for our clients in the weeks ahead a little less stressful.


How do you feel about the number 7?

Interlink customers shouldn’t let delay slow their progress

By William E. (Bill) Garber
Interlink founder

Google offers way more than seven explanations for why people are often impressed with seven of anything. Interlink clients have their own reasons, including seven for why they will be continuing with their plans to implement Full-Service Intelligent Mail® as soon as possible, even though the Postal Service had to pull the plug on the January 26 deadline.

1.  Pocket money. The sooner a weekly claims the Full-Service Intelligent Mail® postage discount, the more savings will accumulate over the years. Of course, this is only about $100 annually for a 2,000-subscription weekly. But, it is a rare publisher who wouldn’t reach down to pick up a $50 bill or two off the street.

2.  More consistent delivery. Full-Service Intelligent Mail® is highly visible on the outside of every sack, tub and other handling units. Postal workers from dock, to plant, to post office know Full-Service Intelligent Mail® when they see it; they also know that ‘the system’ has seen it and knows it is right in front of them. The sooner your newspapers travel in Full-Service Intelligent Mail® handling units, the sooner subscribers will enjoy more consistent delivery.

3.  Anxiety-free Postmasters. Periodical mail has by far the most complex postage statement of any mail classification. Full-Service Intelligent Mail® reassures the postmaster that PostalOne!® already has checked the postage statement and found it perfect. One more task the postmaster is no longer responsible for, and one more mailing the publisher will not be challenged on.

4.  Idiosyncrasy Credits. When it comes to saving time, the eDoc component of Full-Service Intelligent Mail® will be putting smiles on the faces of postmasters for as long as they remember having to code your postage statement into PostalOne!® at the keyboard of their computer. Gratitude builds up idiosyncrasy credits with postmasters. You are a little late some week? ‘No problem!’ PostalOne!® is down, and you show up with paper forms? ‘No problem. Let me help you with that!’ With Full-Service Intelligent Mail,® you will almost always have plenty of idiosyncrasy credits!

5.  No More Yellow Sticker New Address Charges. Yes! Full-Service Intelligent Mail® comes with FREE Address Change Service. How many of those yellow sticker new address service returns do you pay for each week? Tracking the payment in your accounting system only adds to the cost. All of that goes away with Full-Service Intelligent Mail®!

6.  Retain More Subscriptions From Subscribers On The Move. The number one reason a community newspaper subscriber who fills out a USPS change of address form fails to renew their subscription is forwarding failure by the Postal Service. Forwarding takes from an extra week to several extra weeks, and often an issue never gets delivered. And, this by regulation, goes on for 10 weeks before the Postal Service notifies the newspaper using that dreaded yellow sticker notice. No more yellow new address stickers means newspaper get the new address digitally, usually before the second issue after the address change goes into effect!

7.  Momentum. Publishers were ready to finish by Jan. 26, so they are already on the move, if only mentally at this point. Hold that thought just a little longer until PostalOne!® is tidied up, and Interlink sends you the ‘All Clear!’ Then, finish the job with absolutely the least possible additional energy. Starting over always feels like such a grind compared with finishing what you already have started. Take a breather until after the holidays, sure. Then, when the time is better, just finish with a flourish. You’ll be smiling with a sense of satisfaction over your accomplishment, as well as knowing you have happier subscribers because of better delivery. And, keeping even a few more of your harder-than-ever-earned dollars will, if nothing else, remind you in a modestly tangible way that doing the right thing always has its rewards.



Just about everyone is a newspaper reader … really!Anstaett

By Doug Anstaett
Executive Director
Kansas Press Association
Reprinted with permission

A couple of years ago, I hosted a leadership development class from northwest Kansas on a tour of the Kansas Press Association, followed by a discussion of the newspaper industry and how it had changed in the past decade.

I posed a series of questions to the group. First, I asked for a show of hands of how many in the room subscribed to at least one print newspaper. More than half the class answered in the affirmative.

Of those remaining, I then asked how many regularly got their news from one or more newspaper websites. All but one held up their hands.

OK, I continued for that one remaining holdout: Do you consume your news at a non-newspaper Internet site? That last guy held out for a moment, then nodded his head in agreement.

My point was simple: while some think they aren’t a “newspaper reader” if they don’t receive a printed copy on their doorstep or in the mail or pick it up at the local convenience store, the source of most “authoritative news” in our country is still — you guessed it — the newspaper.

What is “authoritative” news? It’s news written by journalists, those who are trained to ask questions, write objectively and strive every day to get all sides of a story.

When you read “news” online or on your mobile phone — especially local news — you’re more likely than not reading a story written by a newspaper journalist.

How is that, you ask? Because much of what is available on the Internet uses as its basis information first assembled by a journalist. In other words, the facts of the story that lead to those interesting discussions at the coffee shop and online originated with a journalist, and in most cases one who works for a newspaper.

Oct. 6 through 12 was National Newspaper Week, a time set aside each year to recognize the role of newspapers in our daily lives.

As you know, our industry is in the midst of dramatic change. Those technological advancements listed above have put pressure on our newspaper editors and publishers because they require them to collect the news and deliver it through a variety of avenues: print, online and, more often these day, through a mobile device.

Even with these challenges, newspaper staff members have continued to perform their two primary functions in American society: to keep the public informed and to be a watchdog on government.

James Madison, our nation’s fourth president, said: “A popular government without popular information or the means of acquiring it is but a prologue to a farce or a tragedy, or perhaps both. Knowledge will forever govern ignorance: And a people who mean to be their own governors must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives.”

Newspaper reporters from all corners of the state believe their watchdog role and the public’s right to know go hand in hand and that knowledge, especially of what our elected leaders are doing, is essential to our system of self-governance.

I’m not asking you to take a newspaper reporter to dinner or to even pat him or her on the back. However, you might ponder for at least a moment how you would learn about the actions of government without them.

Doug Anstaett is executive director of the Kansas Press Association and a former reporter, editor and publisher.


NNA forms ‘Postal Protection Team’photo_brad_hill

Brad Hill
EDITOR’S NOTE: The newly formed NNA “Postal Protection Team” includes Interlink President Brad Hill. NNA’s current President is long-time Interlink customer Robert Williams. As an NNA Partner, Interlink urges all community newspapers to support NNA through membership in the organization to help support NNA’s postal efforts on behalf of the community newspaper industry.

Reprinted with permission
From The National Newspaper Association

The National Newspaper Association this month announced an expanded “Postal Protection Team” to serve the community newspaper industry and broaden services for its members.

The team will consist of longtime NNA Postal Chair Max Heath, the nation’s foremost expert on Periodicals mailing issues, NNA Chief Executive Officer and General Counsel Tonda Rush, NNA representative on the Postal Service’s Mailers Technical Advisory Committee, Brad Hill, and a second NNA representative on the U.S. Postal Service MTAC yet to be named.

The expanded team dealing with postal issues is formed in answer to a request by Heath to continue the postal work but eliminate the need for him to travel the country. Heath, who has led the community newspaper industry’s solutions-oriented approach to postal matters for nearly 30 years, announced this month that, in part to some health issues, he has decided to slow down on travel. Heath’s plans call for him to phase out his postal affairs work during coming years while others increase their involvement.

NNA President Robert M. Williams Jr. said NNA’s board of directors received Heath’s announcement with profound gratitude for his many years of service already given as well as his willingness to work toward a seamless transition for the future.

“This tower of expertise has given generously to our industry for many years. We rely on him to patch our postal tires and to help us guide the vehicle at the same time,” Williams said.

“Many are the newspapers that would not have the readers they have today but for Max’s help in getting the product delivered. NNA is forever indebted to him.”

Williams said NNA had begun in August to plan for succession.

Heath said he is starting his cutback by ending state and regional postal seminars this year after 25 years of doing them. He expressed his willingness to continue with webinars and conference calls for NNA if requested.

“My body no longer likes the stress of travel. I have enjoyed the opportunity to provide NNA outreach, which also informs me of problems around the country. I thank my many friends across America and hope they understand my decision.”

Heath agreed to serve through 2014 on the Mailers Technical Advisory Committee, which meets quarterly at USPS headquarters. That will mark another 25 years of service and allow him to help transition with a successor. He may continue on the Periodicals Advisory Group at USPS, which deals with rules changes. He was one of the original invited members of PAG when it began in the mid-1990s.

“Should other special needs arise, I’ll try to help NNA as requested,” Heath said. “I will still be available for phone and e-mail help for NNA members and to assist Landmark Community Newspapers LLC, my former employer.”

“No one will ever do postal work the way Max has,” Williams acknowledged.

“Max has forgotten more than most of us will ever know. And he has done this work without salary or even much expense compensation for all these years. We know it’s going to be tough to replace him, and no one ever will, really. We always say to ourselves no one is irreplaceable. But Max is.

“However, postal affairs are going to be as critical to newspapers as ever. NNA will not let the work rest. We will maintain our vigorous presence at the Postal Service and with all the postal policymakers. We have already begun by beefing up our representation at MTAC, which has provided Max’s primary platform for working within USPS for solutions. Last year we added Bradley Hill, president of Interlink Inc., to our team. We expect to add a second strong individual before the end of the year. As 2014 moves on, we’ll have more announcements about NNA’s plan to work with Max’s schedule. Meanwhile, we are grateful Max intends to continue to be available to NNA members for the coming year.”

Heath and Williams said NNA had already begun to make clear in the industry that help to non-members would not be part of the succession plan. They said they regard both the policymaking and casework as essential benefits of NNA membership.



New Customers

Welcome to the Interlink community!

Interlink would like to welcome the newest members of the Interlink Circulation community:

Caprock Courier (TX)

Hermitage Index (MO)

Star-Herald (MS)

Eatonton Messenger (GA)

Lake Oconee News (GA)

Comanche County Chronicle (OK)

Slatonite (TX)

Swisher County News (TX)

Ralls County Herald-Enterprise (MO)

Sullivan County Democrat (NY)

McLoud Leader (OK)

Charles City Press (IA)

Miami Today (FL)

Green River Star (WY)

The Star (WA)

Spencer Daily Record Ad Guides (IA)

Delta Star (AR)

Hattiesburg Post (MS)

Mountain Messenger (WVA)

Cloverdale Reveille (CA)

Telegram (OH)

Dodge County Pionier (WI)

Campbellsport News (WI)

North Texas Farm and Ranch (TX)

Malibu Surfside News (CA)

Mustang Times (OK)

Kennesaw Ledger (GA)

Calmar Courier (IA)

Clay County Free Press (WVA)

Dumas Clarion (AR)

Palmer Journal (NE)

Cedar County News (NE)

Laurel Advocate (NE)

Coleridge Blade (NE)

Lewis County Herald (TN)

Dillon Herald (SC)

Lamb County Leader-News (TX)

Winona Times (MS)

The Conservative (MS)

Walsh County Record (ND)

Walters Herald (OK)


Is the issue a software problem or your PC?Larina Hollivay

By Larina Hollivay
Technical Support Analyst

“Why does it take so long to Service my list or Close Issue?”

“Why does it take so long to open my list?”

“Why does my computer take forever to run a report?”

These are questions you may have asked yourself when using Interlink Circulation.

Nothing can be more frustrating than trying to meet a deadline, and it seems like the program is in no hurry to produce what you need to get your mailing out of the door.

Your computer may be the problem.

Making sure your computer meets the recommended system requirements for Interlink Circulation will enhance the efficiency of your software.

Interlink Circulation system requirements are:

•Broadband internet connection on the Circulation PC. ISDN, DSL, Cable-modem, or T1 are all acceptable. Satellite services, wireless and dialup can be used in a pinch but are not recommended or supported.

•Windows 7 or 8 operating system. (Mac users self-report fully meeting Interlink system requirements using Parallels or Boot Camp on an Intel Mac, though Interlink does not support the Mac side of these systems.)

•2 GB RAM or more is recommended for best performance.

•50 GB or more free disk space on the local PC.

•Intel Dual Core i5 processor or equivalent – ask your system administrator or vendor if you are uncertain about whether your processor meets this requirement.

•A laser printer that is configured and tested to work properly under Windows.

•Optional – A high-speed label printer from the supported driver list. It must be available as a Windows printer but does not require a driver, the text printer driver is fine. Many other printers are compatible, but are not supported. Interlink Circulation supports printing labels to any of the following:

•Laser printer loaded with 2-up or 3-up Avery adhesive mailing labels.

•Impact printer (dot matrix) loaded with 1-up, 2-up or 4-up, 1” continuous feed mailing labels or other continuous feed paper (e.g. green bar paper).

•Thermal printer loaded with 1” adhesive mailing labels.

•CSV (comma separated values) file to be sent to the press for direct application of addresses.

If your system specifications do not meet these requirements, you will need to upgrade your PC. It is our hope that your experience with Interlink Circulation is all you expect it to be and much more!

Want to know where to go to get answers to some of the most common questions? Head to Interlink Tech Support to view our FAQ list.

Didn’t find the answer to your question?

You may submit your question in the comment section provided, and a member of Interlink’s Tech Support team will be happy to answer your question, or you may visit Interlink’s Community Forum for additional assistance.

Or give our Tech Support team a call at 888-473-3103.


Interlink welcomes…

Larina Hollivay new technical support analystLarina Hollivay

This summer, Larina Hollivay joined Interlink as a Technical Support Analyst in the Berrien Springs office. Her experience includes more than 10 years working in technical and customer support, as well as working in sales and sales retention.

Larina, in her roles as team manager, department supervisor and operations manager, provided technical and customer support for Dell and Gateway call center while residing in Mississippi. She is the mother of three adult children and is the proud grandmother of one amazing grandchild.

In her free time, she enjoys singing, going to church and the peace and quiet of being an empty-nester!


Denise Duffel new receptionistDenise Duffel

Interlink welcomed Denise Duffel to the staff in September 2013, as a full-time receptionist.

With more than eight years in support, Denise prides herself in providing an unprecedented experience for each client with whom she interacts.

Denise’s previous experience in payroll, customer support and information technology has proven to be of benefit as the main point of contact for incoming and intra-office communication.

She earned her Associate’s and Bachelor’s degrees in business administration from Lake Michigan College and Indiana University, respectively.

Outside the office, Denise enjoys camping, spending time with her family and watching University of Michigan football.


Matt Chuah new programmerMatt Chuah

Matt Chuah came on board as a full-time programmer in the Berrien Springs office after several years as a contract worker. He previously worked as a web developer for four years doing primarily intranet web applications.

Prior to that, Matt graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science from the University of Florida, though he has spent the majority of his life in the Berrien Springs area.

Matt and his fiancée enjoy baking cakes and trying new restaurants together, and hope to one day master the use of fondant.

In his hypothetical free time, Matt also enjoys reading science fiction, playing video games and working on small programming projects.


Take a bow…

ArkLaMiss Winner 2013

ArkLaMiss winner

Winona Times Publisher Amanda Sexton Ferguson, left, is congratulated by Interlink Senior Sales and Marketing Manager Helen Sosniecki for winning an Interlink Circulation conversion during the ArkLaMiss conference in November in Vicksburg, MS.


Interesting links…

Future of newspapers
A look at the future of newspapers from the view of a Canadian with a family history in publishing who notes that publishing was his first passion.

A look at weekly industry
For those looking for an academic view of the ‘State of the Weekly Newspaper Industry,’ check this paper by a team from Jackson State University, University of North Carolina and Michigan State University.

Editorial entries sought
The International Society of Weekly Newspaper Editors has set a Feb. 1 deadline for entering the Golden Quill editorial-writing contest. You do not have to be a member to enter. The winner will receive a scholarship and travel expenses up to $500 to attend the 2014 conference in Durango, CO.


Interlink Calendar


Dec. 24 – Close at noon Eastern

Dec. 25 – Closed

New Year’s

Jan. 1 – Closed


Postal Calendar

Postal Holidays: Upcoming postal holidays with no regular mail delivery: Wednesday, Dec. 25, Christmas; Wednesday, Jan. 1, New Year’s Day; Monday, Jan. 20, Martin Luther King Jr’s Birthday; Monday, Feb. 17, Washington’s Birthday.


USPS offers Standard Mail incentive program

The USPS has announced an incentive program for Saturation and High Density Standard Mail for 2014. Now may be the perfect time to consider expanding your Standard Mail coverage area.


Telemarketing rules get tougher

Reprinted with permission from Missouri Press Association eBulletin

Oct. 16 changes to the Telephone Consumer Protection Act make it more difficult to solicit subscriptions with a telephone or cell phone, even if you’re calling current subscribers.

As of Oct. 16, prior expressed written consent is required for all auto-dialed and/or pre-recorded calls/texts sent/made to cell phone and pre-recorded calls made to residential land lines for marketing purposes.

Also as of Oct. 16, the “established business relationship” exemption for pre-recorded telemarketing calls to residential landlines was eliminated.

Read about these new telephone regulations in an article from law firm Klein Moynihan Turco LLP.





NEED A NEW LABEL PRINTER? No need to spend your cash buying a new one. Just use Interlink’s Monthly Printer Service. For only $24.95 per month, Interlink will provide you a fully supported thermal label printer for unlimited use in your office. Current model being supplied is the Citizen CL-S621. Label/ribbon packages are available from Interlink. Call 888-473-3103.

SAVE YOUR GAS MONEY from those trips to the office supply store for labels. Let Interlink ship them directly to you. Call 888-473-3103 for pricing.

FREE TRAINING! Our New Year Special lets three lucky customers keep the standard $190 training fee to stimulate their local economy. We will provide a FREE 2-hour training session to the first three Interlink customers who respond to this ad. Call Helen or Jessica at 888-473-3103. A trained, efficient Interlink Circulation operator can save your newspaper time and money. If you have an operator who has not been through our training process, who learned by sharing information internally with the last operator, chances are not all of the program’s efficiencies are being utilized. If you don’t respond in time to grab one of the free offers, we still can sign your operator up for an intense two-hour training session for only $190. Let us help get your operator up to speed on all Interlink can do to help you and your operation.


© Copyright Interlink, Inc., 2013, Acceptable Use Policy, and Terms of Service.