Monday, January 2, 2012

USPS' Mess and NewPage's Saga: Dead Tree Edition's Best (and Worst) of 2011

Articles about the U.S. Postal Service’s struggles were the most-read features of Dead Tree Edition in 2011, while NewPage's downward spiral into bankruptcy protection was also a popular topic.

Once again, the 10 most popular articles were all about the Postal Service, led by USPS Retirement Mess: A Major Barrier to Downsizing and Obama Hints At Changes To Postal Service Workforce, each with nearly 20,000 page views. The irony is that many people mistakenly thought the first article was criticizing postal unions (I was actually praising them for addressing a problem that management seems to be ignoring.) and that nothing much has come of Obama’s hinting.

Readers actually spent the most time – nearly 1,000 hours – reading Postal Service, White House Engaged in 'Intense Discussions'. Nothing much seems to have come from those discussions, either.

The article receiving the most comments – a whopping 49 – was Postal Service Has Too Many Employees and Pays Them Too Much, Mailer Groups Say. A lot of postal employees wondered why USPS has so many supervisors, why they’re working overtime when there are supposedly too many workers, and why U.S. mailers are complaining about the best bulk postage rates in the world.

Speaking of overtime, both USPS Overtime on the Rise and Delayed Retirements, Rising Overtime Bedevil USPS Finances were on the top 10 list.

Getting Flipboarded out of business
One reason postal articles on Dead Tree Edition are so widely read is that sites devoted to postal news do such a good job of curating relevant content from other sites. Maybe that’s because they’re run  by amateurs.

Most of the professional journalists who publish the media devoted to the printing, catalog, and paper industries hew to the time-honored principle of journalistic ego, which means you don’t publish anything not written by your own people unless it’s a news release. Within a few years, they’ll be Flipboarded out of business. But the amateurs will thrive.

The most popular non-postal articles dealt with NewPage, North America’s largest maker of magazine-quality paper, as it tried to maneuver out from under a staggering debt load. Tops was the prescient Is Bankruptcy Inevitable for NewPage?, published in September 2010. (The answer, we learned 12 months later, was yes.) Also popular were NewPage Finally Says the B Word; NewPage, Verso Owners Reportedly Discussing a Deal; and NewPage-Verso Merger Unlikely, 2 Experts Say.

Other highlights (and lowlights) of the year included:
Related articles: Tricky Dick, Spamazon, and 10 Other Media Failures of 2011 and USPS Retirements and Staffing Changes Captured Readers' Attention in 2010.

    1 comment:

    Anonymous said...

    The most underreported story of 2011 as well as in previous years is that there are far too many in management with far too much downtime.Over the years they created too many suspect jobs for their "friends" and when the economy tanked.costs rose,and because of the internet,the house of cards fell and the chickens came home to roost.