Things are so out-of-kilter at The Tennessean that even investigative reporter Phil Williams of News Channel 5 said he dropped his subscription.
That’s because, going by Williams’ Twitter feed, the newspaper’s staff gypped him out of a lot of money.
Williams, in his tweets, said nothing about the content of the paper — only the staff’s billing practices.
“As much as I want to support my fellow journalists, today I became a FORMER @Tennessean subscriber b/c of the company’s billing practices. If you are a longtime EZ Pay subscriber, you should check your bank account,” Williams wrote, before posting several follow-up tweets.
“My automatic drafts from my checking account had sneaked up on me, from $35/month in 2017 to an average $81/month now. For the record, my @Tennessean account lists me at $81/month, but I’ve been charged more in some months.”
The problem, Williams went on to say is The Tennessean staff advertising $16 a month for seven-day home delivery that is 50 percent off.
“That would make the regular price $32, right?” Williams wrote.
“Apparently, NOT! The customer service representative told me that, because of where I live, the actually price is $81. BTW, I live in Davidson County. So, out of curiosity, I asked: Where is The @Tennessean‘s call center located? Answer: the Philippines. When I told him that I was not willing to pay $81/month, he offered me no other choices. If this is the way that @Gannett runs a business, the clock is ticking.”
Williams said he’s subscribed to the paper for more than 30 years, but “just can’t reward bad business practices.”
Kimberlee Kruesi, who said on her Twitter page that she is an Associated Press reporter, was one of many people who chimed in on Williams’ tweets.
“As much as we reporters love to tout the importance of subscribing to your local news organization, we don’t talk nearly enough about whether the product is actually attractive or easy to use for the public,” Kruesi said.
“This thread is eye-opening.”
The Virginia-based Gannett company owns The Tennessean.
Twitter user Tim Kernell, who identifies as “a 27-year Gannetteer,” had critical things to say as well.
“I’ve been saying it for some time…it’s as if @Tennessean is doing anything & everything it possibly can to alienate & run off their print subscribers,” Kernell said.
“Never quite seen anything like it.”
According to LinkedIn, a Nashville man by that same name said he worked for Gannett from 1984 through 2011 as a production specialist.
As The Tennessee Star reported last week, Digital First Media is preparing a bid to purchase Gannett.
Digital First is a hedge fund backed media company renowned for purchasing newspapers and gutting operations through firings and drastic cost cutting.