Mar 14, 2012 David Tyler Uncategorized
This week, the Skaneateles Press enters a new chapter in its long history as the leading source of local news for this great community. After three months of preparation, the Press will, from this point forward, be mailed to every home and business in the 13152 zip code. It is a big step for the newspaper, and one that took several months longer than it should have.
Last November and December, we sent free editions of the Press asking you to return post cards requesting a free three-year subscription to the newspaper. Our current subscribers were automatically added to the rolls, but about 1,000 of you sent back the card requesting a new subscription. It was our hope that we would be able to fill those requests immediately. Unfortunately, for us and for you, that is when the waiting game started.
As we were required to do by the United States Postal Service, on Dec. 9, 2011, we filed an application for a change of status from Periodical to Periodical Requester at the regional post office. This status change is what allows us to mail copies of the paper to the entire community, as long as more than 50 percent of residents request a copy.
As a large and frequent customer, we’ve developed a good relationship with the folks at the Taft Road Post Office, who, like postal service employees across the country, have dealt with severe challenges, cutbacks and regulatory changes in the last few years.
If it were up to them, I believe our little application would have been dealt with quickly and efficiently. Unfortunately, that’s not how large bureaucracies work.
Our application was sent down to New York City, where it sat for several weeks in a black hole of inattention. Our first few calls to that office were greeted pleasantly, but with no information about when our application would be approved. As time went on, the exchanges became more strained, but the end result was the same.
It wasn’t until we threatened to enlist the support of our Congressional representative that any action ensued. Finally, by mid-February, our contact indicated he had reviewed the application and everything was in order. It just needed the signature of his boss. We put plans in place to start mailing to every home on Feb. 22.
Another two weeks passed, however, before his boss found the time to scribble his name on our application.
Finally, on Friday, March 2, 2012, we were notified that our application was approved.
This ordeal reminds me of why I love my job as a community newspaper publisher. The readers of the Skaneateles Press are knowledgeable about the issues affecting their wonderful community. They are involved and caring. Our advertisers tend to be small- and mid-sized businesses. Most of these businesses are places where a simple phone call gets you the owner of the company, who realizes the important relationship between the success of that business and the success of the community it serves.
For our new readers and advertisers, please know that this also has reminded us of our responsibilities we have to our readers, our advertising customers and the newsmakers in this community. We owe you straightforward and unbiased news coverage paired with thoughtful and well-researched commentary. We owe our advertising customers an effective vehicle to market their businesses, coupled with great customer service and fair pricing. We owe this community’s newsmakers a fair and accurate accounting of their activities, free of sensationalism and hyperbole.
If we can fulfill these missions, the Skaneateles Press will be successful for another 180 years. But if we ever leave you wanting in any of these regards, please pick up the phone and call. I’ll either answer it myself, or get back to you as quickly as I can. I owe you that.
David Tyler is the publisher of the Skaneateles Press. He can be reached at (315) 434-8889 ext. 302 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.