Periodical mailers, get ready for USPS digital compliance

Jan 1, 2023

The U.S. Postal Service’s continuous movement toward digital compliance for Periodicals mailers pushed on in December as one official announcement and one unofficial advisory reached National Newspaper Association’s Mailers Technical Advisory Committee delegation.

First, USPS announced it would soon eliminate hard copy change–of–address notifications. NNA filed comments with USPS following a formal notice of the rule change, urging USPS to take a go-slow approach to help Periodicals mailers still receiving hard-copy notices.

Second, the Postal Service announced the final end of sorting addresses to 5-digit ZIP Codes when publishers present the addresses on hard-copy cards. Because both addressing software and USPS’ own ZIP Code look up website allow publishers to perform 5-digit sorts digitally, the use of manual card sorting has dwindled.

But many smaller newspapers still rely upon this service.

Finally, NNA has been alerted that USPS wants to eliminate hard-copy postage statements. Local post offices will be urged to work with local publishers to convert the Form 3541 filing to electronic documentation, either through postal software or through the use of USPS’s Postal Wizard. NNA expects official announcement of the change in January.

NNA Chair John Galer, publisher of The Journal-News of Hillsboro, Illinois, and part of NNA’s MTAC team, said the changes were no surprise.

“USPS has maintained several hard–copy systems primarily for the benefit of small mailers like community newspapers,” Galer said. “But these are costly for USPS and, as the costs of handling Periodicals keep driving postage prices up, our industry needs to urge best practices. Doing things the most efficient way saves money across the board.”

Galer said NNA would partner with the NNA Foundation to offer new training in the various electronic tools for working with USPS.

“You can expect to see something from the Max Heath Postal Institute™ shortly after the first of the year,” Galer said.