Sunday, May 6, 2007


April 30, 2007

Dear Editor:

In the first 120 days of 2007, we probably have not received our paper on one-third of those days. Calling the Herald-Sun “customer no-service” line produces even greater frustrations, especially when the voice tells me that they “deliver more news seven days a week.” Of course, if they did deliver it, I wouldn’t be calling. Sometimes after calling, the paper eventually gets to our driveway and sometimes it doesn’t.

With all of the challenges facing the print media these days, you would think a paper’s owners would do all that it could to retain paying customers. I have personally had conversations with the district manager, the circulation manager, and even the publisher about not getting our paper but it continues to happen. I just can’t understand why, as the other paper that we pay to receive has missed delivery only once in the last 120 days and the free paper comes twice a week without fail. Whatever the explanation, deeds, not words, should be the coin of the realm for consumers.

We did not get this Sunday’s paper, again. We called and were told that they would try to deliver it; it never came. It didn’t come Monday morning either, but the “customer no-service” rep said that they would try to get it out to us Tuesday. I assume that my Sunday column was printed but I have no personal confirmation. What’s wrong with this picture?

Thus, in good conscience I can no longer be an unpaid weekly columnist for an organization that seems to care so little about its customers. I have enjoyed my time writing for the Chapel Hill Herald and I especially value all of the feedback from readers. I understand that, as editor, you have no control over the business aspects of the paper, but I hope you understand my decision. I also hope that somehow, the Paxton chain will devoted the necessary resources to improve delivery and its customer service approach before it’s too late. Our community needs a community-focused newspaper, but is this a corporate commitment?

Thanks again for the opportunity to write the weekly Sunday column and I wish you and your fine staff good luck.

Fred Black


Ruby said...

Woo hoo, go Fred!

It's not like you need that old media dinosaur now that you have your own blog, anyway. Now you can say whatever you want on your own schedule and no-one has to pay to read it.

Kirk Ross said...

Hope you're doing well.
Anytime you want to send us something, I'd be happy to run it.
Good luck with the blog thing.

Kirk Ross
The Carrboro Citizen

Andrea Rohrbacher said...

I thought I was the only one having problems. Rob and Neil have helped me twice with extensive delivery problems.
It started when I moved, excuses by the HS Help-Line were - confusion about old vs new address, messages going to former carrier not new carrier, new circulation manager, new carrier, another new carrier, 2 addresses listed in my record where do I want the paper delivered? My response was to the same address that you send the bill, but that did not help.
I thought things were OK, then problems resumed in January. I have not had a HS since last Friday.
One change of address call to the other paper to which I subscribe resulted in 100% delivery.
I enjoyed your columns, glad you have a blog now. I appreciate your step with the HS which made a point that I imagine many people are encountering, but there is no way to know the extent.
If CHH is dropped, I will not renew my subscription.