April 20, 2014

An underappreciated benefit of digital delivery of newspaper content: The news doesn’t arrive on your doorstep covered with fleas.

Turns out newspapers aren’t immune to the bizarre — and often hilarious — complaints that bedevil restaurants and other small businesses on Yelp. But the review site also includes some appreciations of what only the local newspaper can offer and insight into how readers feel about the transition to digital.

Here are some of the best reviews I found, putting aside most of those focusing only on politics or delivery/billing problems (which are what attract the most complaints and seem to plague every newspaper). Bold emphases are mine; all photos by AP.

The Wall Street Journal

Malden G. (2013):
Today’s front page story about NSA privacy invasions should have been released in 2006. It is 7 years late.

Tess M. (2012):
Because I’m not a hardcopy kinda gal, as I HATE newspapers stacking up and the subsequent recycling, The WSJ Online, although pricy, speaks to me with news alerts throughout the day, In Today’s Paper, hot off the presses that slips silently into my inbox, along with my customized preferences, The Personal Journal and Life & Culture that also arrive with regularity, regardless of the proverbial rain, sleet, or delivery contractor who overslept.

Eric B. (2009):
Many years ago, I was sitting at my desk reading the WSJ over lunch. A pipefitter at the large Houston Ship Channel chemical plant that we were both working, happened by. He took one look and hollered in his best Texas accent: “The Wall Street Journal! What are you, some sort of a G-d Damn tycoon?

The New York Times

Vincent H. (2013):
We walked by, it looked cool from the outside and fancy.

Eric B. (2009):
My NY Times usually arrives at 4 AM and all wrapped up in blue. My cat Socks and I are usually there waiting when it lands on my step. And as a Center-Left Democrat, this part of the “Mainstream Media” suits my political inclinations the best.

New York Post

James H. (2010):
Serious. I use to live in NY, ride the subways, ride the Staten Island Ferry, really get about and the only paper I saw NY’s buying and reading was the NY Post. No shame admitting they enjoy a good story and headline like anyone else. At least you know what you are getting with this paper unlike the agenda from say the NY Times.

The Washington Post

Realistsofly A. (2013):
I didn’t go in but I have always enjoyed a print newspaper

Ruth C. (2012):
News source bias debate aside, I was generally happy with my Washington Post Sunday subscription. With print publication suffering as a slowly dying breed in the face of “oh-noes-the-internetz,” after the first year they were willing to throw free weekday deliveries at me until my old apartment looked like a candidate for Hoarders

Allison A. (2010):
I love the WaPo. … My only beef is I wish they would stop trying to change the site and make it hip. Leave it alone! I like the format, as funky as it is.

Dallas Morning News

Sam E. (2011):
An icon of Dallas news. Love reading the quote on the facade of the building. With the changes in news over the past 20years it is soon becoming a thing of the past, so get a look at it while you can. Plus it is right across from Union Station. Lots of history was printed in this place.

Orange County Register

Tom S. (2014):
I am giving them a 5 star rating along with one big complaint! The complaint is that the newspaper is too large, and filled with so many interesting articles, that I can rarely get through it during my breakfast. I find that I am taking unread sections with me during my daily appointments in case I find myself waiting in waiting rooms for an appointment.

Debbie P. (2013):
I used to love getting the Register since it’s a local paper and the prices were reasonable. Now, the prices have gone up and I recently lost my job and had to downsize to the LA Times only on Sunday’s. The LA Times on Sundays are a whole lot inexpensive then the Register.

Star Tribune

Nick. C (2010):
Basically, the only thing I ever bother reading anymore is the comments on stories posted on the website. Take any story, it doesnt matter what…and some third-tier suburbanite will find some way to bitch and moan about illegal immigration, socialism, and Barack Hussein Obama. COMEDY FOR HOURS

The San Francisco Chronicle

Eduardo P. (2014):
I don’t read any paper, but I subscribed to help a boy that was selling subscriptions. So I received the paper every Sunday and I just recycled it without even open it every time. Then I discover that they continued sending me the paper after the subscription was supposedly over, so I asked and they told me that I have a debt for $15 because they auto-renew subscriptions. WTF? I never signed for auto-renewal, that is a dirty trick to try to keep money flowing in despite their pathetic content. I’m assuming that judging by their web site, because I don’t even know how the printed version looks like.

Richard T. (2013):
What’s that they now ask? If I want to read certain articles online in their entirety I have to pay for their premium edition? Hold on, can’t do that right now…this lovely ad for Target just popped up on my computer screen and is blocking my view…

The Times-Picayune

Jen. L (2012):
Here’s the thing about the TP. Everyone loves to pick on it but then I go read papers in other cities and I realize how lucky we are to have it. It has it’s issues (get it, Ha!) but I think it is still solid. The online site (nola.com) is more likely to have typos and errors as they rush to get the news out, but most of these are corrected by the time they print.

Marielle S. (2012)
Sure, this paper has flaws, but who doesn’t save the first page when something significant happens in this town (Katrina, Super Bowl).

The Plain Dealer

Jim R. (2011):
There are only 2 reasons to be awake at 5 am on a Sunday morning, One of them for me was to get groceries because i could shop without running into housewives in curlers the size of hula hoops, and to score a Plain Dealer.

Chicago Tribune

Dorothy C. (2014):
Quit littering my lawn and porch with your damn local values free papers. I’ve called. I’ve written, I’ve begged. I don’t want them. Our tenants don’t want them. What do we have to do to get you to stop dropping your trash all over our neighborhoods?

Dodge S. (2012):
There more to love than just their newspaper. I am a fan because of their excellent iPhone app. It is much better than some of the local news channel apps. Always updated and relevant. I am a fan because of their amazing Tribune Tower on Michigan Ave. Check it out! The building has stones from around the world embedded along the outside walls that you can look up from the sidewalk and see all the way around the perimeter of the building.

Ben B. (2007):
The tribune is overall a pretty good newspaper. … However, they sometimes put their best stories on page 27, and the old-school broad page format is difficult to follow in my armchair, much less the El. Why the hell do I have to read one part of a story on page one, then leaf past all the stupid ads to read the rest on page 32? If the Trib. was more user-friendly, maybe tabloid format?, ITtd get a 4.5-5 from me.

Arizona Republic

William C. (2014):
Another thing, their alleged “New” website is a 100% rip-off of the USA Today !! How easy that was, “New and Improved”, sure.

Rudy D. (2014):
Got to tour the inside with journalism teachers. Got to sit in on a budget meeting for the following days paper. These people are awesome! I have no idea about their newspaper delivery service, but they have a cool app and online presence, and they were super friendly to us and showed us how they operate! Plus I think i saw the AZ version of clark kent in a cubicle.

Los Angeles Times

Melvin F. (2014)
For the past several months, when I open the Times in the morning, Fleas (or some kind of tiny bugs) fly out of there newspaper.Very disconcerting. … The last time I phoned, the representative offered to have my paper enclosed in plastic. That is being done now for a few weeks but it did not solve the problem. … MY L A TIMES STILL HAS FLEAS

Michael M. (2013):
I think their journalism is mediocre at best. But I have to say that they have a fantastic cafeteria at their headquarters! Today I had a delightful teriyaki stir fry dish. In fact, my only complaint is that this isn’t an everyday menu item.

Fred C. (2013):
Superior news articles, sports, and other content. One only needs compare to the internet articles to gauge quality. And using the coupons and ad circulars practically pays for the subscription.

The Oregonian

W B. (2014):
My experience with the delivery of the newspaper to my house could provide ideas for a PORTLANDIA episode. Again this morning my newspaper is soaking wet. Yes it was wrapped in plastic but only sealed on one end. They must train their carriers to keep one end open. This causes rain runoff to collect in the bag. Is this to help keep it from going into rivers to protect the Salmon? This must be such a common problem that there is now an OPTION on the automated phone reporting system to report A WET NEWSPAPER. It’s not like its a suprise that it rains here.

Tampa Bay Times

Connie M. (2013):
I love this newspaper! But who wants to read a review about a newspaper? Well, I am here to tell you about the method that my paper gets delivered – on my iPad! Woohoo! I’m green!!

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Sam Kirkland is Poynter's digital media fellow, focusing on mobile and social media trends. Previously, he worked at the Chicago Sun-Times as a digital editor,…
Sam Kirkland

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