Ballston Journal Online Publisher Angela Mcfarland

UPDATE: An Unpleasant Way to Initiate Change

UPDATED 8:24 a.m., 8/21/14:  Thank you George Hearst for doing the right thing. Here’s what we received from the V.P. of Circulation, Todd Peterson, this a.m.: ““We will honor all expiration dates through the end of their term and notify them at expiration that their newspaper is going to stop. We will call back the few people we talked to on Friday and let re-iterate that their newspaper ends at expiration, and that their delivery will continue until then and they will be reminded at that time that delivery will cease.”

If you get the call and do NOT want future solicitations from them, you have to tell them to REMOVE you from their sales and future contact data base.

Holding big media companies accountable is far from easy, but not impossible. As always, I am so thankful to our readership–if you all could see each other the way I see you, you’d “get” how amazing you can be.

I am disappointed to hear  the Albany Times Union is calling our current subscribers and telling them they will be stopping delivery of the Sunday Times Union as of Aug. 31. It is with deepest disappointment

and sincerest apologies that I tell you we were NOT notified that they would be proceeding in such fashion and we are caught off guard by their use of subscriber information.

We opted to end the Ballston Journal Online/Times Union deal as of Aug. 31 with the understanding that every paid subscriber on the books thru that date would be honored thru the end of their subscription. Certainly made sense to me and I said so in an email to the Vice-President of Circulation, Todd Peterson, on July 3, after he asked me how I wanted to handle it.

My exact words, “it’s in the best interest of all parties” to continue delivery to all paid customers signed up by Aug. 31. We would simply not be providing them with new customers or shared data after that date.

Seemed like a no-brainer to me, right? Care for the customers first and foremost. Yet, I still end up shocked by large media tactics that clearly bite themselves in the butt. Every. Time.

I have contacted George Hearst personally with my dissatisfaction and frankly, think the V.P. should lose his job.

Seriously, if your number one employee task is to increase numbers and circulation, does it make any sense to use shared information, with the intent of shared marketing and partnership, for sneaky one-way audience building? He’s ticked that I called him out on it for doing it several weeks ago–and the reason why I felt it was time for termination.

Maybe it’s me? Does it make sense to drive phone calls, to paid customers, and ask them to pay again for a product they already paid for? Not to mention the carrier income lost, just like that, based on a simple good business decision: take care of the customer first.

Nope, I’m digging in my heels on this one. It ain’t me.  I’m pretty sure that I would fire the person on my payroll, that squandered my staff resources because he had a personal chip on his shoulder for being called out. I’m very sure he’d be gone for upsetting and confusing already paid customers and for ending the day, with a net overall loss in numbers to my business, when his number one job is to grow them in the midst of record declines in paid media circulation.

The Ballston Journal Online will take full responsibility for our subscribers. I’ve already got a plan “B” and a plan “C” underway so sit tight with me for a few days.

In spite of the current bad decision by a Hearst employee, I have the utmost respect for the Hearst Corporation and am holding out hope that Mr. Hearst will act honorably towards the use of our shared subscriber information and deliver the Times Union product thru everyone’s individual subscription expiration date.

Meanwhile, if you do NOT want to be contacted with solicitations by the Hearst Corporation with the information about you we have shared as a joint partner, send an email telling them to STOP and remove your information from their selling database. Email Todd Peterson, V.P. of Circulation, [email protected] and be sure to cc: George Hearst, Publisher, [email protected]

Again, I couldn’t be more sorry to our paid subscribers for the intrusion while we navigate this hiccup. But, many of you know me well enough by now I will take care of this to YOUR benefit and won’t stop until it’s fixed.

#media #changingmedia #signofthetimes

Angela McFarland
Chief Creative Officer and Ad Whisperer 
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The statements and views expressed in the Publisher’s Pen are solely that of Angela McFarland and do not represent, or reflect, the opinions or views of The Ballston Journal Online LLC or NewzMedia Holdings LLC.

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Publisher, Senior Sales Executive, Coach and Revenue Team Leader. An out-of-the-box Creative and Publisher, by news industry standards, in a marketplace that is rich with history, tradition and fierce community loyalty. A defender of news reporters, journalists and free speech, no matter what.


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