Newspaper Readers

I have a newspaper project and I wanted to get everyones 2cents. The client I’m working with is in real bad shape and I’m in my brainstorming phase. All thoughts and suggestions are more than welcome

1.For those person’s that still get there news from a newspaper, why do you?

2.What is it about newspapers that you like or don’t like?

3.Do you have any newspapers in particular that you frequently read.

4.How to think newpapers compete with TV, the web or radio?

5.If you owned a newspaper what would you do differently to increase redership?

Thanks :slight_smile:

two years ago i can honestly say that i read the paper everyday. more recently, after looking at all the unread weekday papers in my recycle bin one day, i changed my subscription to sunday only. now i am looking at unread sunday papers in my recycle bin. it is just so much bother to sort the news pages from all the ad pages and i swear to god the ratio is 1:5.

msn is my home page when i log in and i get all i need and only what i need from that. sorry to say for your client, i just do not enjoy nor do i need newspapers any more.

now, i am becoming really anoyed with pop-up ads, especially with google, damn them to hell.

You are so lucky to have such an interesting client bkili!

  1. 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).

  1. 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.

  1. Guardian Weekly, Le Devoir, The Gazette. I would add the Economist too, although it’s more a magazine.

  2. 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.

  1. 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.

I did a news experiment for a three years.

I cancelled TV since I kept questioning the poor statistics.

Cancelled all papers. limited my internet news to quick sites WSJ, SAN Jose mercury, and a short few others.

Kept my magazines; none were news rags.

It was a refreshing cleansing. I realized that the news I missed the most was the local happenings and upcoming events like concerts, festivals, even firestation pancake breakfasts.

If I go back, I would pick up a year subscription to the Economist( a british publication) because the writers seem to have more thought. Rather than regurgitate the ap wire the Economist writers have used a few brain cells to put the news on the page.

I bet I could more quality news from a year of the Economist than a year of TV. Most people can’t distinguish that Chris Mathews, or bill O’Rielley are not anchors but really entertainers not news people.

Maybe newspapers should follow the magazine format. every time I walk into a barns and noble there is another row of magazines I have never seen before.

…well since you asked, for starters consider the font (6pt copy with 60pt black headlines is just dumb)…12pt (min) copy with 16pt headines (bold if you must)…get real with the headlines (cute and cryptic might have been ok in 30’s)…increase the column width to more than 20 characters (more like 60), don’t split a story into more than 2 pieces and then scatter them all over creation (the second piece should be as big as the first or at least more than a couple of sentences)…get over the “front page” above or below the fold mentality…infomercials disguised as stories are really despicable…hire a really good graphic artist or two and get rid of the cut-n-paste monkies…as for content, if you cann’t be balanced at least be fair.

Thanks a lot guys,
I really appreciate all the advise. I’m still at an early stage with the client. Some of the things they want are making me feel real iffy about the whole thing :confused:. One of those clients that, may not be worth the headache.

Guest (whoever you are): the pop-up ad comment really got me thinking, I don’t know about what yet but, when I read it, the hamster starting running at top speed.

Mr-914: 'Preciate the response. It’s a local paper but, the client is really infatuated with The New York Times, They want that to be the model. I may take you up on the email offer depending on how things go. :wink:

moderator: I like the idea of the magazines(i love magazines!:P) but, I probably would have to hold that exploration for my personal experiments. I don’t think the client is that open yet. I’ll see if I can slip those concepts in and probably tell them after the fact.

mrd:…“infomercials disguised as stories are really despicable”, I can’t agree enough with you on that one.