When is a complaint a good thing?
In the last couple of weeks, we have received a handful of complaints about some technical glitches involving our e-edition. That’s the online version of the newspaper itself, the version that is an exact replica of what rolls off the printing press each night.
I’m not sure what caused the problems, but the results were that some pages were being cropped so tight that some words were being cut off, or that some pages were not appearing. At its worst, the entire A section of this week’s York Sunday News did not appear.
The e-edition is a fairly new offering for us, and it’s something that started without much fanfare. Initially, many of us doubted it would catch on. I mean, if you wanted something that looks like a newspaper, you’re going to want the newspaper, right?
But over time, it really has caught on. I was among the skeptics when this launched nearly three years ago, but I now use it throughout the week.And thousands of people now subscribe to it.
My habit with it started when I’d go on vacation. It is comforting to see my daily paper in that form even if I’m at the beach or in another country. As an editor here, too, it helps me better understand what happened back at the office.
But now, even when I’m not on vacation, I rely on the e-edition more and more. If I need to look something up from a previous edition, it’s often quicker to call that up on my computer than to go find a paper from a week ago — and that’s coming from someone who works in an office filled with previous editions. If I want to confirm how a developing story appeared in print, as opposed to where it is now in its evolution on our web site, the e-edition is a big help.
And my commitment to the e-edition was sealed when I started using an iPad. The speed and ease of use of the e-edition on this device is outstanding.
And that’s what brings us to the complaints.
A year ago, if a glitch blocked publication of a page to the e-edition, I am sure we would have heard no complaints. Heck, I’ll bet we could have missed an entire day and not heard a word about it.
But this past week we received quite a few irate e-mails and phone calls from people who were rightfully upset with the missing material.
This tells me that an increasing number of people have come to rely on this platform for their daily news. None of these people, to my knowledge, told us that they were traveling. That tells me that this has become an everyday tool for York Daily Record customers.
And it tells me that we need to pay close attention to this service and make sure we get it right every day. The complaints received this week served not only to resolve the specific issues confronting us. They also served as a wake-up call about the importance of this service.
Add this to an ever-increasing list of services that “newspaper” readers have come to expect and you’ll see why I so proudly state that newsrooms today are serving more readers more often and in more ways than ever before.
GIVE IT A TRY
If you are a home delivery customer already, you can subscribe for just $10 a year, which is really a heck of a bargain. (And if you call our customer service department at 717-767-4663 and tell them you read about this here, I’ll make sure you get a one-week free trial.)
I’d love to hear from anyone who has tried the e-edition. Let me know what you think, and how you think we can improve this product.