Alternatives for subscribers who didn’t get their O.C. Register

Old News by Doug Wheller licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0
Old News by Doug Wheller licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Thousands of Orange County Register subscribers haven’t received their newspapers for the past few days (stories by the L.A. Times, O.C. Weekly and O.C. Register), so I thought it would be helpful to list some other ways those customers can get the news they’ve been missing.

The most obvious solution is to use the internet. People could visit the Register’s web site. They could go to Google and search for Orange County news. They can be more specific and query the search engine for news in their particular city.

For those married to the print medium, the Register has said that (paying) subscribers can visit the office in Santa Ana to pick up a “free” copy of the paper. People can also visit their local convenience store or hunt down a rare newspaper vending machine and purchase a copy of the Register or a competing publication.

Unfortunately, none of my suggestions are good ones.

Visit the Register’s Facebook page, or search Twitter for mentions of @ocregister.  Customers have been using social media to complain about the problem. So-called “print customers” obviously know how to use the internet and social media. They know how to find the Register on Twitter. They know how to find the Register on Facebook. It’s safe to assume they know how to visit the Register website and read the news there.

The vocal print subscribers who use social media to complain about distribution problems don’t seem interested in a digital solution. Post after post makes it clear. They want what they signed up for, a newspaper delivered to their doorstep.

If there’s one thing this delivery debacle has taught us, it is this: there is a real demand for newspapers, even among people who use the internet and social media.

What’s the lesson?

So, if for some news consumers there is no substitute for printed news, what should the Register and other newspaper organizations take away as a lesson from this experience? I want to hear what you have to say. Leave a comment below or strike up a conversation on Twitter, where you can find me @ksablan.

Why I stopped working for a newspaper company

Jugendschutz im Internet by licensed under CC BY NC 2.0
Jugendschutz im Internet by Frank Zimper licensed under CC BY NC 2.0

When I admitted yesterday that I don’t read newspapers, I didn’t cite that as a reason for my departure from the Orange County Register. It’s no secret that the Register offered buyouts in June and Gustavo Arellano reported early on that I was on the list of journalists who would leave.

My decision wasn’t easy. When I joined the the Register in 2005, it was an exciting news and information organization trying to exceed online just as much as it had in print. Continue reading

Why I left newspapers

Urban Tumbleweed by Vonderau Visuals, licensed  under CC BY NC 2.0
Urban Tumbleweed by Vonderau Visuals, licensed under CC BY NC 2.0

I don’t read newspapers. There. I said it.

It’s not that I don’t like newspapers. I love the way their carefully crafted words merge with pictures, illustrations and graphics to tell stories. I’m amazed that large groups of people can work together to essentially produce a short book. Every. Day.

It’s not you, newspapers, it’s me.

I’ve grown as a news consumer over the past couple of decades, and I need someone that understands my modern needs. Continue reading

How traditional news covered social media in 2009

Yesterday, we looked at how social media covered the topic of journalism in 2009. Today, we offer four lists of blog posts and articles published by three traditional, mainstream news sources who covered social media this year. The stories were curated by Google with gentle nudges by a human editor.

The Lede

The first set of links appeared in the New York Times’ The Lede blog.

  1. Multiple Channels for Obama’s Cairo Speech
  2. Is Social Networking Killing You?
  3. Can a Tweet Be a Scoop?
  4. Blogger Wove a Tangled Web
  5. No Tweeting in the End Zone — or Between Sets
  6. June 22: Updates on Iran’s Disputed Election
  7. Filipinos Document Their ‘Katrina’ Online
  8. A Call for Eyewitness Accounts
  9. North Korea Duels With Iran for Attention
  10. Blaming ‘Media Hype’ for Swine Flu Fears

Since this is a blog, you can read more of The Lede’s social posts by perusing their posts tagged Facebook, Twitter and social networking.

Guardian UK

The second batch of headlines comes from

  1. With 8% growth, social media still on the rise – as Facebook users get older
  2. Embracing social media boosts traffic on news sites
  3. What will the BBC’s new social media editor do?
  4. Social Media Count shows we live in a publishing society
  5. Facebook et al risk ‘infantilising’ the human mind
  6. BBC creates social media editor post
  7. Social media course defended on Twitter
  8. How social networking is changing journalism
  9. BBC to relaunch websites with focus on social media
  10. Bobbie Johnson: Why I’m finished with ‘social media’

The Guardian has topic pages where you can find more of their coverage of Facebook, Twitter and social networking.

L.A. Times

This list comes from the Los Angeles Times.

  1. Times updates social media guidelines
  2. White House using social media to debunk ‘myths’ about healthcare reform
  3. Social media shifts the way we travel – Travel –
  4. Jack in the Box feeds the social media beast – Los Angeles Times
  5. Poll: Should the SEC ban social media from college stadiums?
  6. Which is more popular online, social networking or porn?
  7. Skittles site redesign puts Twitter, social media at the forefront
  8. FDA tackles gray area of social media
  9. Anti-religion agenda among social media users
  10. Be my guide: Social media travel tips are valuable but limited by the crowd

Many of the Times’ posts about social media appeared in its technology blog. You can go there to see more posts on Twitter Facebook, social networking and social media.


For this final list, we go back to the New York Times. This time, we visit the Bits Blog.

  1. More Employers Use Social Networks to Check Out Applicants
  2. Social Media Overload Allows Web Apps to Shine
  3. Should the White House Be a Place for Friends?
  4. Google Plans Tools to Help News Media Charge for Content
  5. Google’s Black-Box Social Network
  6. FriendFeed Updates Status: Married to Facebook
  7. The Anti-Social-Network Social Network
  8. Ex-Forrester Analysts Resurface at Consulting Firm
  9. Inaugurating Social TV
  10. Why Adults Have Fed Twitter’s Growth

As usual, this blog makes use of tags, so you can easily get to more of their Facebook, Twitter and social networking stories.

What were your favorites?

Of course, this is only a small sample of the traditional news industry’s coverage of social media. What were your favorite social stories from MSM in 2009? Please leave links in the comments below.

Thank you Leah BetancourtJosh Fialkoff, Asteris Masouras and Edward O’Meara for your help with this post.