An Open Letter to the South Bend Tribune

netVibesSBT

Dear South Bend Tribune:

 

I received your letter today asking for more information as to why I canceled my subscription last week. Your letter included a brief questionnaire asking why I stopped the paper and how the customer service was when I called to cancel. Yes, I called to cancel, because I couldn’t find a way to do so online. You might want to make that an option.

 

I canceled not only because the papers were piling up week to week and sometimes went right into the recycling bin, but also because I realized I was reading only the ads — particularly that big box electronics retailer I enjoy thumbing through every Sunday. These days I get my news mainly through the Web: thus the check-marked box on the questionnaire “I get my news from the Internet.” I think you’re probably seeing more of this type of response.

 

More specifically, I use an RSS portal page and just recently added a local news and information tab to my collection of automatically updating Web pages.

 

Read the whole post here: http://www.techsource.ala.org/blog/2008/01/an-open-letter-to-the-south-bend-tribune1.html

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5 thoughts on “An Open Letter to the South Bend Tribune”

  1. Nice letter Michael. I completely agree with everything you wrote. I actually have never subscribed to a paper…ever. All of my news exclusively comes from online resources and pretty always have.

  2. At some point, of course, there won’t be any newspapers to supply on-line feeds and blogs, and no news wires like the AP or Reuters who depend on the newspapers for income, if *everyone* drops their paid subscriptions but still asks for free access. So maybe micropayments for accessing news?

  3. I keep looking at the calendar expecting it to say April 1st. When did you start channelling the Annoyed Librarian?

    In your letter, you repeatedly imply that the best reason for reading a newspaper is vanity. You demand that consumers of local news content be readers but not paying customers, and you offer no solutions to this conundrum. You condescend to know their business better than they do.

    I get it, the world has changed, media has changed, and small community newspapers are not changing fast enough to keep you on as a customer. And yet, there are far better ways to engage your community about this issue than to gloat over the fact you receive their goods and services for free.

    Worst of all, you represent yourself as a librarian and professor, and by posting on the ALA TechSource blog, as a voice for the American Library Association. You make it plain that you are no friend of information producers unless they give up everything they own, free and online, and in saying so, you misrepresent us all.

    Your blog has a broad readership. In person, you can enthrall an audience. In a relatively short career, you have already inspired a lot of people. People are listening. What do you hope they will do, after reading your letter?

  4. Michael, I want to make sure that I’m not associated with the rant that followed my posting, and emphasize that I do think the future of on-line news and other elements of for-profit commerce lies in micro-payments.

    I think of it as paying text message rates for selective and convenient access to information that was developed at some cost to someone else, and which is of some measurable value to me.

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