You know, maybe something like this:
Q. I was curious about digital newspaper distribution. I know most papers have their own Web sites, but do any have a virtual subscription? That is, can a newspaper be e-mailed, in much the same way it used to be delivered to your doorstep? I can think of many advantages to this means of distribution, as opposed to offering your digital content solely through access to a Web site. — Roger Sollenberger
While the question’s funny (most papers, including the Times, do let you get headlines or even full articles by e-mail), it’s probably also a good reminder about how much a gap there is between what newspapers think their readers know about how papers work and what they do, in fact, know.
I used to get requests all the time, at both a very small paper and a very large one, for us to run reader-written “news stories” about one group or another. And why should they know how it works if it’s not transparent? Nobody expects a car buyer to understand the mechanics of an engine, nor a computer user to understand circuit design. But we often assume readers understand “off the record,” the Chinese wall, and all other sorts of slippery or even basic journalism terms and techniques.
Simply accepting pre-written articles sure would save a lot of time though.
Hat tip to Mr. Guess’s GChat status