You are so lucky to have such an interesting client bkili!
- Right now, I’m catching up on reading business books since the news has been slow lately, so I’m not reading the newspaper. However, I read the newspaper at least 10 months of every year.
I still read the paper because of the paper that I read. I buy the Guardian Weekly all the time. Sometimes I’ll read a Montreal Gazette, but only if I don’t need to buy it (I’m against large media companies). I’ll also buy a copy of Le Devoir if something interesting is going on in the province (it’s an independently owned and operated french daily in Montreal).
- I don’t like dailies. Just like Guest, I have too much going on in my life to spend reading munitia about yesterday all the time. I find it convenient to pick up a weekly that sumarizes all the big stories of the week, plus adds intelligent editorials explaining the news. Other stuff I love about the papers I read are the cultural bits. Guardian has an excellent book review section. All the papers have off-beat theatre, cinema and music reviews. I can hear about The Davinci Code anywhere, but it takes searching to get info on Finding Comedy in the Muslim World.
Another aspect is, these papers deliver something above the shallow TV reports. They give it color. They take the 2D image of TV and fill it in 3D with pieces that have real empathy for the people involved.
Guardian Weekly, Le Devoir, The Gazette. I would add the Economist too, although it’s more a magazine.
TV is the shallowest form of news media. It’s like it was designed for children.
Web/Radio, I like the CBC, BBC world service and WMNF radio from Florida. Mainstream radio, as guest observed about newspapers, is just too filled up with commericials. I want to know, “should I be worried about Iran?”, not “right now, 0.3456 APR on a new Gerry SUV, come on down!”.
The newspapers I like reflect this. They keep ads in their place. The Guardian Weekly has 4 pages of ads near the back of their issues all in one group. Le Devoir has ads everywhere, but they take up no more than about 1/4 of any single sheet.
- If I owned a newspaper, I would start looking at my community in terms of groups. I find in the US, there are often two conservative newspapers battling it out. To top it, both papers can their local coverage to run bland pieces off of the AP wire. BORING.
Target your paper to some group in the community that isn’t served. Instead of trying to make one paper serve everyone, make 2 or 3 for specific communities. Those communities, if they buy the paper, are tossing out a section or two anyways, you may as well sort them at your centre.
That brings me to my next to last idea (ie rant). Connect the global to the local. The disadvantage to the papers that I like is that they are either good at local stuff or international, but not both. Instead of going cheap on everything (AP wire stories for national news and having the chevy dealer write your local stories), give your readers something they want to buy! Have good local coverage and national and tie them together. It must be doable.
Also, along the lines of local coverage, remember people always want to make connections with each other. That is why the internet is so popular, people communicate with each other (like in this forum). For example, the Guardian and Gazette both have huge spaces for readers’ letters. This connects the newspaper to the reader and makes them feel like it is their paper.
Lastly, don’t depend on ads. To use a needlessly complex automotive reference, ads are like sway bars, they are admission of design failure. If the only way you can make money for your paper is by selling ads, it means that your paper has nothing of value for its readership. You may as well close shop now.
If a paper brings it all together for its readers and offers something that they can’t find elsewhere, the revenue from subscriptions and purchases will cover your paper more securely than ads any day!
If you want more (like YOU have nothing better to do!) shoot me off an email.