Industry changes continue to reduce options
by Melanie Jongsma, Publisher
LANSING, Ill. (March 1, 2021) – “I am pleased to announce that Chicagoland Circulation Services has merged with [Door to Door Direct] effective Monday March 1st,” read an email I received Sunday night, February 28. The Lansing Journal was on the recipient list because we used Chicagoland Circulation Services (CCS) to deliver the December print edition. We had an agreement with them to deliver the upcoming March issue as well.
The professionalism and efficiency of CCS’s delivery systems had impressed me. So I was concerned to read this sentence in the merger announcement: “I will no longer have involvement with the day-to-day operations and I will miss working with you all very much.”
The new distributor
This morning I called the new phone number of the new distributor. It was early, so I left a voicemail introducing myself and explaining The Lansing Journal’s arrangement with CCS. Four minutes later, General Manager Britt Zink called me back. “You were on my list to call this morning,” he said, “but you beat me to it!”
Zink assured me that the merger of CCS and Door to Door Direct will have no negative impact on our March print edition. All of the same experienced delivery crews have been included in the merger, so the same teams who delivered the December issue will also deliver the March issue. This is important because the delivery teams learn the route by doing it—those little tucked-away blocks that were missed in December were mapped and highlighted. Any overlooked addresses were listed and noted. And all those notes were given to Zink, so he can make sure the March delivery is even better than the December delivery was.
Zink also emphasized that Door to Door Direct also promises porch delivery. I told him this is very important to me because it’s a better service to our readers, but also because we don’t want to be confused with the pink-bagged papers that often litter Lansing neighborhoods. Zink said porch delivery is all they do.
So we are moving forward with the March print edition. Managing Editor Josh Bootsma and I will spend the next 9 days making content decisions, writing new articles, updating old stories we want to include, and designing 20 pages.
- Wednesday, March 10: High-resolution files are due at Blue Island Newspaper Printing (BINP) at 6:30am. (I actually hope to upload them by March 9 to give us time to correct any production errors I might make during output.) The March print edition will be on press that same day. Josh and I will try to be there to do a press check and pick up some early copies.
- Friday, March 12: Door to Door Direct’s delivery crews will arrive at BINP by 5:00pm to pick up 12,000 printed Lansing Journals in bundles of 100.
- Saturday, March 13: Delivery crews will begin walking through Lansing neighborhoods, placing a newspaper on each porch. We’ve asked them to deliver to Lansing apartments and condos too. They will—if there is an unlocked lobby or entryway where they can leave enough papers for each unit to have one.
- Monday, March 15: The crews will return to Lansing to finish delivery. By 5:00pm, a printed copy of The Lansing Journal will be delivered to every accessible residential address in Lansing.
While Britt Zink restored my confidence that the March print edition will be delivered as planned, the news of the merger is yet another reminder of changes in the news industry. Not only are newsrooms affected, and printing presses—as we found out last October—but the impact trickles down to delivery systems too. Chicagoland Circulation Services did an excellent job of delivering printed materials efficiently. But when fewer companies print fewer publications, fewer delivery services are needed.
We are relieved that the March print edition is moving forward, but we can’t pretend not to notice that print options are shrinking. We will print whenever we can, but we also will take every opportunity to encourage readers to sign up to receive The Lansing Journal by email:
You can still receive a print issue whenever we are able to publish and deliver one. But sign up for the Daily News email too, so you can receive community news no matter what happens to the print industry.