Towse: views from the hill

January 29, 2009

The Future of the Chron

Filed under: news,periodicals,San Francisco — Towse @ 7:20 pm

At the beginning of the year we lost John Flinn, the Travel Editor, and Lynette Evans, the Home & Garden Editor.

Starting February 1, Home & Garden moves to Sunday from Wednesday and Saturday. Food (which was all of four pages yesterday) moves to Sunday, where it will share a section with Wine, which is moving from Friday to Sunday. Restaurant news and the Inside Scoop column will show up in the Datebook section on Thursdays.

Beginning Sunday, The Chronicle will offer its readers an enhanced newspaper that will better capture the essence of living in the Bay Area. Not only will readers notice a new look and new features in its daily sections, but there will also be new sections and features that will add to the value of the Sunday newspaper.

Complete announcement

What does my crystal ball have to say about these moves?

People who currently subscribe because they want the Wednesday Food Section AND the Friday Wine Section AND the Sunday paper will cut their subscription to Sunday-only or drop it altogether. Why bother when the food/wine/home stuff has all moved to Sunday and the current news is on the Web? We’re reading stale news in the morning paper for the most part anyway. Sunday’s a nice day to go out for a walk, pick up a paper from the newstand and walk back home for coffee and a read.

Circulation will fall. Subscriptions will fall. Ad revenue (based on circ stats) will fall as well.

By Christmas, the Chron will decide to exist as a Sunday-only print paper — tabloid format — with all other news content on the Web.

February 20, 2008

What customer service should be like …

Filed under: life,periodicals — Towse @ 8:17 pm

Returning from BOS after a mind-stretching AAAS annual meeting, I sorted through a week’s worth of mail.

My March 2008 copy of REAL SIMPLE had arrived in the most ghodaufful shape of any destroyed magazine I’d ever received. Nice bright red note on the cover “RECEIVED IN DAMAGED CONDITION”

Aye, but who damaged it?

The cover had a third ripped off down to page ~ 30 (I can’t tell because that corner of the page is missing. The next 50% of the magazine has the same corner ripped off (in an almost topographical way) but only about 16% of the page missing.

The rips continue. The magazine’s unreadable. The first page that is not badly torn is page 274 and even that page and the pages up to page 292 are scrunched a bit and slightly torn.

I hied off to

Log in, they said. So, I put the name on the subscription and my address and the e-addr I use for their notices. “Hi!” they said. “You last paid us $$$ on xxx-xx-xxxx. Do you want to renew now?”

Um. No. My subscription runs through July 2010. Heck, the scamp will be back from his Peace Corps gig before my subscription runs out.

I clicked the “report missing or damaged issues” box. RealSimple asked “missing or damaged”? Do you want us to replace the issue or extend your subscription? Is the issue in question the February 2008 or the March 2008 issue. I clicked and clicked and said I wanted a replacement for the March 2008 issue.

Next page … “We are sorry that you did not receive your March, 2008 issue. We have requested that a replacement issue be mailed to you at …”

Easy peasy, eh?

THIS is what customer service should be like. …

June 16, 2007

MyWire Top Stories

Filed under: app,life,periodicals — Towse @ 1:52 am

MyWire Top Stories

I mentioned I think — or maybe it was in a different space — that I moved all my bookmarks into last week and I’m working my way through, updating, changing, deleting, deciding whether a given bookmark should be “public” or not …

I click on old bookmarks. Sometimes they are dead as a doornail. Sometimes they shift you over to a new URL. Sometimes …

Came across this one just now that had really morphed.

A while ago I was trying to decide whether to give up some magazine subscriptions and (truth tell) piles of old magazines — archives of periodicals that I might look at once every three years and, instead, sign on AND PAY $4.95/mo to KeepMedia, which offered 150+ titles online.

We sympathize with the postal carrier who, not just for us but also for others, walks down 40+ stairs from the nearest street to reach the cross path that connects with our walking path. He walks down the path to our stoop and up 18+ steps to our door to deliver our mail and magazines. And back down again and up and down again and up … as he walks down our walking path, delivering mail.

He walks another almost 100 steps down the steps to the next walking path to deliver another batch of mail.

Maybe, I thought, we could lighten his load.

I thought about it, do I want to give up my physical magazines, um. I thought about it, set it aside, thought about it. …

Turns out good thing I didn’t tie my wagon to that horse.

KeepMedia is now and a fine app may be, but it’s not what KeepMedia promised.

Word to the wise. Those packrats amongst us worry about stuff like this … give up your physical archives? Trust the Web? Trust the vendor not to change his business model?


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