I have been doing a rather old-fashioned thing this week. The Open Spaces Society and Pitkin Press have just published my book, Saving Open Spaces, (about which more later in a later blog) and I wanted to post it—yes, put it in the mailbox—to the press.
For the past few years all our press mailings have been by email, so I had to compile the postal addresses. I went to the websites to look for them but it was a nightmare. Very few press and radio actually put their address on the front page. You have to delve for a contact link. When you get it you may only see a whole list of email addresses, or a box to fill in online. Sometimes I resorted to directory inquiries, but that’s no good if you don’t have sufficient information for the search.
One example: I telephoned the Press Association to ask for its address because I could not see it on the website. The receptionist didn’t know it. I wondered how she had found her way to work. She had to ask someone else and then told me that it was 292 Vauxhall Bridge Road. When I asked for the postcode she had to inquire again.
You’d have thought the press would want people to contact them but from my experience this week they want to hide themselves away.
I planned to send a copy of the book to every member of the Natural England board. Natural England no longer has its own website, it’s part of the generic government website gov.uk. When eventually I found the contact page I could not see which address I should use for board members (supposedly important people). I rang the inquiry line, one of those 0300 numbers, and the person answering passed me to someone else who had some difficulty in finding out the postal address for board members.
It’s been an eye-opener and pretty frustrating. It should be a rule of every website design to put the postal address clearly on the front page. Follow the Open Spaces Society’s example, our address is clearly there at the bottom.