NNA announces workshop for printers that mail newspapers

Nov 2, 2015

The complexities of managing Periodicals newspapers in the mail have ballooned in the past decade as consolidated printing operations and the digital tools of the U.S. Postal Service have reshaped the industry. The National Newspaper Association announces its first-ever workshop for Periodicals printers, set for March 16, 2016, at the Crystal City Marriott in Arlington VA.

NNA President Chip Hutcheson, publisher of The Times Leader in Princeton, KY, said NNA realized that solving the multiple challenges of newspaper delivery in the mail required better training for printers.

“The days are gone where each publisher had his own backshop, sacked his newspapers and hauled them to the post office,” he said. “Now, a qualified Periodicals printer is probably a regional company and it has to have experts on Intelligent Mail Barcodes, electronic Documentation or ‘e-Doc,’ and a plethora of mail preparation details, such as use of flats trays. NNA is beginning this training program so we can nail down some best practices.”

The program and registration details will be announced in December.

NNA Postal Committee Chair Max Heath urged publishers to contact their printers now to ask them to save the date.

“NNA has engaged since summer 2015 with USPS in mail service improvement programs called ‘Kaizens,’ where high-level USPS operations executives focus intensely on one newspaper to figure out where and why the breakdowns in service outside the local destination post office are occurring. We have learned a lot from the half-dozen we have done. Some of the problems we have are in the Postal Service and some, quite frankly, are in our own operations. Container and bundle preparation are two areas where opportunity for improvement exists. We need to teach printers about origin-mixed mail, how to get signed up for e-Doc and what to do when USPS is ready to begin electronic tracking of bundles,” he said.

NNA provides regular instruction by Heath at annual conventions and in Publishers’ Auxiliary. The new workshop recognizes that sometimes, training publishers is not enough.

“We need our printers to get up to speed quickly,” Hutcheson said. “Most of the information they need is available through NNA. But we are going to make it easier to use and create opportunities for printers to talk directly with USPS operations experts. Who should attend? Printers, for sure. But also anyone who is being driven nuts by the telephone ringing with subscribers complaining that they’re not getting their newspaper in the mailbox on time. We are going to roll up our sleeves and tackle these issues one by one.”