The Love of Pulp — and How to Get the Wall Street Journal on the Cheap
Call me traditional, but I like reading news on paper – oh, the tactile pleasure derived – somewhat ironic considering that I work in online publishing. It’s nice to step outside in the morning, watch the sunrise, make the trek down the gravel driveway, listen to the birds, check how the lawn is doing, and finally get to my copy of the Wall Street Journal. At the same time I get a bit of a weather forecast – if the paper is double-bagged, then the delivery service expects rain, and usually accurately so. If it’s only single-bagged I can be pretty confident that it will be a fair weather day.
Along the way back to the house, especially in the summer, I pay attention to whether the vegetable garden or the yard needs watering – although this year has been a good one so far, not too dry, not too wet. Back at the house, it’s time to unpack the bundle of fibery goodness. The WSJ and a couple cups of coffee in the morning gets the day off on the right foot. On weekends it’s a heavy bundle – with additional sections including travel, food, and car reviews. Something for the wife and for myself – even my 12-year-old has started to read some portions.
Reading the paper gives me inspiration for Spend Matter stories and keeps me informed on what is going on in most areas. So, why do I like the paper version? Jason mocked me a little when he visited – “oh, you get the paper version?” he said querulously. Absolutely! Here’s the advantage in my experience – the power of accidental discovery. I find that when I read the online version, I look at what brought me there and little more. But when I read the “real” version – the hard copy – inevitably something stands out that I hadn’t planned on reading, giving me information about new and fresh topics. Try it and tell me what your experience is like.
As a bonus there is the pulp itself. I have a large vegetable garden, which is surrounded by leaves, grass clippings, and other organic garden debris. I layer in newsprint in these piles and then dump more leaves and grass on top – the earthworms love it. Don’t try this with glossies, only with plain newspapers.
Best of all – the WSJ doesn’t cost me anything! Haven’t paid a penny for it. Living in the Atlanta area, I have a certain travel bias in favor of Delta – can’t be helped – so I rack up SkyMiles at a good clip. And here’s the trick – you use your miles to pay for the WSJ. Ok, so it’s not entirely free but comes pretty close.
Delta has changed partners for this over the years. Right now it is a company called Newspaper Rewards, and the deal has only gotten better since I got my last subscription. I had to hand over 2,700 miles for about nine months (I think – I renewed back in July last year, but the copies keep coming…) of just the print edition. Now the deal is even better – pay 2,417 miles for 39 weeks of the print and electronic editions. Fantastic – that’s easily accrued on a single trip for which you could have paid as little as $250. Meanwhile, the WSJ’s regular price for the print and online editions is $29 per month. Do the math, depending on how you look at it, either the subscription is free with the trip – or you can think of it as the trip being free and you pay for the WSJ. Good deal.
Update: I jinxed it. Today my subscription ran out - kid you not! So now it's back to Newspaper Rewards to redeem some points. I tested to see if airlines other than Delta participate, and sure enough, it looks like most frequent flier programs can make use of the site.