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Category Archives: Newspaper

GoErie to change subscription provider

Sent to me as a seven-day a week newspaper subscriber with full access to GoErie.com, I got this in the e-mail today:

Hi Joel,

Thank you for your subscription to GoErie.com. Over the next few months you will see many exciting changes on GoErie.com and in the Erie Times-News.

In order to simplify access to all of our digital products, we are changing our GoErie.com subscription service provider. During this change, you will have complimentary and unlimited access to GoErie.com. The change from our current provider will start on August 12th and will be completed by October 31st. Once the change is complete, we will contact you to explain how to continue your GoErie.com service.

After August 12th you will see a new pop-up window periodically on GoErie.com describing our new VIP subscription program set to launch in October. We will contact you soon regarding your chance to take advantage of this or other subscription offers.

Please note that this change does not impact access to Erie Times-News on the Go, the electronic version of the Erie Times-News. If you are an Erie Times-News on the Go subscriber, you must continue to log in to access your daily eEdition.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us. Our customer service associates are available Monday – Friday 7am – 4pm or weekends and holidays 7am – 11am at (814) 453-4691 or toll-free at (800) 352-0043.

We truly appreciate your patience as we are working to serve you better.

Sincerely,

Mike Womack

Audience Development Director

Looks like the paper is working hard to solidify a paid reader base online even while their ink on paper delivery still outperforms the industry.

Hileman’s exit leaves void at GoErie

Jeffrey Hileman

Jeffrey Hileman

Jeffrey Hileman announced Saturday that he is leaving the Erie Times-News and GoErie.com after two and a half decades at the paper; the last two years as Director of New Media.

Hileman has been named Director of Communications at Edinboro University of Pennsylvania.

The newspaper and Erie’s most read news website are losing a strong journalist, a consummate professional, and a really nice and decent guy. What I appreciated about Jeff, especially in his role at the helm of the paper’s website, is that he “got” the whole idea of interactivity with his audience. Hileman was an early adopter of the concept of conversation with his readers, blowing up the “gate” in the traditional media gate-keeper role and opening himself and his area of responsibility up to reader feedback and two-way communication. Believe me when I tell you, that media types of a certain age, steeped in the “one-to-many” paradigm have not always navigated well into this new era of instant response and connection with the audience.

We wish Jeffrey well in this new endeavor; the Boro needs him. He will certainly be missed in the pixels at GoErie.com.

Erie winter chronicled in Wash Post

They are not your typical Chamber of Commerce photos, but the typical land and lake-scape of an Erie, PA winter intrigued a Washington Post travel writer so much that she came to town twice in 2011 and wrote a photo-laden feature that landed in Sunday’s Post.

Robin Soslow, the Impulsive Traveler, ventured to Erie to experience the ice dunes of Presque Isle State Park last January (a more typical winter than what we are having), and says

And the adjacent town of Erie is so rich in man-made spectacles that I made a second visit last month.

Now that’s something the Chamber can crow about. Read her quite flattering portrayal of our town here.

Newspaper Coverage of Penn State Scandal: Nov. 10, 2011

This morning, newspapers from across the state covered the biggest news story in Pennsylvania since Flight 93 crashed in Shankesville.

You can view a gallery of those pages by clicking this link: Go to Newseum: Today’s Front Pages: Pennsylvania

After you’ve looked at how this story was covered, please compare, contrast and comment here at P& T.

 

 

ETN presses stop Sunday night

goss Press

Example of Goss press

Barring some last minute second thoughts or major technology glitch, the big Goss presses at West 12th and Sassafras will go silent late Sunday night as the Times Publishing Co. outsources the printing and packaging of the daily newspaper to the Butler Eagle, effective Monday.

If Friday morning’s (8/19) edition is any indication, get ready for stale news on your doorstep or vending machine. The printing arrangement with presses two hours away forces an early deadline in the news room. This really hurts when it comes to sports. Forget about missing west coast scores, the ETN will have a hard time covering any game past 10:30 or 11:00 PM.

Case in point is Thursday night’s Eagles vs. Steelers preseason contest; the battle for Pennsylvania bragging rights. The game was over and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette had a full story up on their website by 11:14 PM, ten minutes before the late night TV sportscasts. Hours later, when you picked up the Friday morning Erie paper, a scan of the sports section resulted in only this:

Thursday’s Eagles-Steelers game did not finish before press time. For a game report, go to GoErie.com/sports.

Really? Quarter after 11 is past deadline?

Ugh. I know newspapers across the country are in pain, and the Erie paper has been doing better than most through innovative and creative ideas, but this outsourcing of the presses and the consequential diminishing  of the ink-on-paper product is a significant step backwards.

Of course the real tragedy lies in the loss of 40 family sustaining skilled-labor jobs. The irony remains that the Erie Times was created by pressmen involved in a labor dispute with their former employer. Now, at the end of a five-year labor contract with today’s pressmen no renewal was offered. They’ll hit the big red button on the Goss for the final time this weekend then hit the streets.

Yes, indeed, the future is in the digital online streams. We talk about it everyday. But for now, don’t the 52,000 daily paying purchasers of the NEWSPAPER and all those advertisers deserve better than this sad state of affairs?

Cheeseman: paywall, iPhone app coming

UPDATED: More details on the paywall for GoErie.com: “The cost for non-newspaper subscribers will be $6.95 per month, and Sunday-only customers and others who subscribe in increments less than the full seven days will be offered a discounted price of $2.95 per month.”

The paper is putting the “whoa!” on GoErie.com.

In a publisher’s column in Sunday’s Erie Times-News, President and Publisher Rosanne Cheeseman dropped the other shoe in her realignment of the Erie area’s largest news operation from a “ink and paper” based outlet to a multi-stream digital enterprise that is fighting to find a model where consumers will help subsidize the work of professional producers.

The first shoe of course is getting the Times Publishing Co. out of the newsprint publishing business. The transition to outsourcing the production of the newsprint version of their content to the Butler Eagle is expected to occur in the next few weeks, along with the loss of 40 jobs. Now the paper has their sights on the thousands of readers who consume it’s product without plunking down the obligatory six bits. Cheeseman explains:

GoErie.com will also soon launch a digital subscription program. Print subscribers will continue to have unlimited access to our website. However, nonsubscribers will be required to pay a fee for extended access to what we consider premium content — notably most of the bylined work of our professional reporters.

She goes on to say that GoErie.com will remain the community’s portal, with breaking news, obits, and blogs still free. If you take the Monday, July 25th morning version of GoErie as an example, on the five featured posts on the image rotator, one was a bylined news story, one a bylined sports story, one a link to a photo gallery (which would be free), and two were internal promos.

In her post Cheeseman announced that an GoErie app for the iPhone and iPad has been submitted for approval by Apple. It will allow the reader to view stories as if published on paper or in a story list, along with layers of video and additional content, including a voice function that will read the paper to you.

Several questions remain, with the biggest being will people who gladly fork over $80 per month for cable TV pay for a digital subscription of $8, $10 or $12 $7 or $3 a month? How will the inevitable loss of eyeballs affect display ad rates at GoErie? If print subscribers get unlimited access to GoErie, then why aren’t they getting automatic GoErie “Insider” subscriptions and the ability to make comments on stories right now (ETN circulation and GoErie are currently totally separate profit centers)?

And what about the aggregators?

Erie Times-News to print in Butler

Your daily newspaper will soon be at least two hours older than it is now.

This morning the Times Publishing Company announced that they are  in final negotiations with the Butler Eagle to print their paper, leading to the closing of the pressroom and mailroom of the Erie Times News and layoffs of 40 full and part-time positions.

The trip from Butler to the ETN’s West 12th Street location takes 1 hour and 48 minutes.

The route the Erie Times News newspapers will take when printed at the Butler Eagle, Butler PA.

From GoErie.com this morning:

Citing the age of its printing and packaging equipment and the millions of dollars it would take to maintain or replace this equipment, the company announced in March that it would exit the printing and packaging business but continue to operate the Erie Times-News as a family-owned daily newspaper.

“After thorough evaluation of potential third-party vendors, we determined that Eagle Printing Company is best-suited to partner with us in the production of our newspaper,” said Rosanne Cheeseman, president and publisher. “Like our company, Eagle Printing Company is an award-winning, family-owned business. Even more importantly, it has modern presses and other technologies that will ensure the highest-quality product for readers and advertisers of the Erie Times-News.”

Under the ownership of the Wise family, Eagle Printing Company opened its Eagle Production Center in 2003. The modern facility includes a new-technology UniLiner press line as well as mailroom capability for daily insertion of preprint packages.

The transition is expected to occur in early August. At that time, the content of the newspaper will be transmitted electronically to the Butler facility, where it will be printed, packaged and then transported to Erie for delivery. The rest of the company’s operations — editorial, advertising, circulation, finance, information technology, maintenance, human resources, administration and the GoErie.com website — will remain in downtown Erie.

Cheeseman emphasized, “Although we are changing the way we produce our newspaper, we remain as committed as ever to serving Erie and the surrounding region — just as we have for nearly 125 years. We intend to preserve the editorial and advertising excellence that has earned us first or second place as Pennsylvania Newspaper of the Year from the Pennsylvania Newspaper Association in four out of the past eight years.”

She said readers and advertisers should see no major change in content or appearance of the newspaper.

I guess no scores from the west coast and no news after the 11:00 TV shows is not considered a “major change.”

The other great irony is that the Eagle’s daily circulation is just over 26,000, but the Wise family saw to it to upgrade their presses eight years ago. Meanwhile, the ETN is nearly at 52,000 daily but the Meads did not think their press system needed to be improved. Are the presses really in that bad shape?

There are many more questions than answers on this whole deal.