Thursday, November 5, 2009
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
Monday, November 2, 2009
Let me start with a story. My wife and I were talking about the possibility that the Journal Sentinel might go online-only. Both of us like print newspapers, which I find much easier to read and in which I am much less likely to overlook stories. We talked about adding the Wall Street Journal or New York Times at home. I read both at Marquette. My wife asked, but where would I get my sudoku and word games.
The point is very good. Newspapers are a lot more than news, despite what today's editors seem to think. After reading the often-depressing news, she likes to do the games to ready herself for a workday. Similarly, I like to read comic strips. Sure, all them can be found online, but not as easily. And I don’t want to discount the likelihood of missing obscure news items online where web sites are driven by popularity, burying items on less popular areas.
That came to mind when I read Kathleen Parker’s column about Alex Jones, author of “losing the news.” According to Parker, Jones looks at the reasonably strong newspaper circulation (down less than 10%) is outstanding given we subscribers could get the same stories free. I’d add that we’re doing this despite most newspaper management’s seemingly intentional attempts to drive us away by drastically cutting staff (and therefore quality) and increasing prices. The Journal Sentinel, for example, is planning to charge for all sorts of the kind of offerings it used to use to attract readers, such as its Sunday TV listing.
I’d agree with Jones (although I haven’t read his book yet) that the desire for print shows the strength of the format. If only some print publishers would show a spine.