Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Open Letter to the Seattle Times

Dear Seattle Times,

Please stop calling to tell me you're "going to start delivering the Seattle Times to my house for free Monday through Saturday."

I'm on the Do Not Call List. I've given warnings (and you claim you're not selling something but offering it for free. Ha. Don't care.), but from now on, I'm reporting you every single time I see you on the caller ID, even if I don't pick up the phone.

You call often. Like every day for a few weeks while we dodge your call. And then when I do finally take the call, that maybe buys me a month of peace and quiet before you start calling again.

And your salespeople are so pushy and belligerent and think you have an answer for everything.

My claim: I get my news on the internet.
You ask: Which website?
My response: I list off a bazillion in rapid fire including seattletimes.com and all of the local TV and radio websites. (Maybe next time I leave off seattletimes.com and mention seattlepi.com.)
Your claim: Only 30% of news is actually published on the internet.
My counterclaim: So much for "only the news that's fit to print" and "I guess seattletimes.com is not an authoritative source for news."
Next time: "Who takes the time to come up with statistics like that? Or did you just make it up? Because 74% of statistics are made up on the spot."

My claim: I used to get the paper. I probably didn't read 70% of it. (Callback, holler! I used it later in the call, was pretty proud of it and think it sailed right over the guy's head.)

My claim: The internet is more efficient, better for the environment.
Your claim: Uh... wha... what do you mean? (Not really a claim, more of a stammer.)
My response: You have to cut down the trees, transport them to the press, print the paper, put it on a truck and drive it to my house. That's all kinds of bad for the environment.
Your response: Your computer is worse for the environment than the newspaper.
My response (unspoken): You are truly one world class moron, with amazing tenacity.

Your claim: But you won't get the coupons.
My response: But we do get the coupons. They come in the local newspaper we get for free. And my wife has other (legal) methods of acquiring additional copies of coupons for free.
You: Again, stuttering and stammering.
My response for next time: And besides, aren't the coupons in the Sunday paper, the one you're not delivering?

You didn't mention comics again this time, but if you did, I'd ask - do you have a week's worth of Dilbert in color? Because my Dilbert-a-day calendar at work does. Do you have Garfield minus Garfield? No? Because Google Reader does. Do you have Calvin and Hobbes? No? But that's the only comic I like. Is there big advertisements taking up the places where you used to have comics? Because that's what I remember from the last time i had the newspaper.

My claim: You can't update your stories with new information like the internet can.
Sullen silence.

Journalism needn't die, but the printed newspaper is anachronistic (I think I'll use that word next time and then ask them if they know what it means) and needs to go away. I know that without the tangible some people forget to get news, or they only get it from Jon Stewart, The Onion and The Colbert report, but that's not their problem, that's the media company's problem for not being a product people want.

So Seattle Times, stop calling.

Thank you.
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