Daily Paper Death Watch


Well well another potty mouth pundit comment, just like those East Coast bigwigs who think the Pacific Northwest is just full of old grouchy walruses.

Harrumph I say.
what is TAB.
Tab = tabloid in wannabe speak, @2.
Catering to old people sounds like a sure-fire way to ensure long-term success. Seeing as how this demographic will undoubtedly live forever, I don’t see what could possibly go wrong.
I like the Stranger. I don't buy this argument. I do agree that you don't go after the old people exclusively unless you don't care about the future of your paper.

The Stranger has a specific, cultivated identity, and somehow manages to turn out good stories despite that.

The Chronicle would fail in a week if it tried to go the Stranger route. It doesn't have the bona-fides.
Dan is right.

But what is this Tab stuff you're talking about - is that like that Diet Coke thing they keep yabbering about?
Well, Julie, I plan on being old someday. Do you?
The major dailies are doomed and their route to extinction will be even swifter by going with such an inane plan of action.

This dumbshit Bushee got it EXACTLY backward; in business you never favor the old over the young...
unless you're selling funeral plots, medication or trusses.
Or retirement plans or reverse mortgages or medicare supplement plans or Lil' Rascals or manufactured homes or viagra or fear.
@7. Yes. And when I am old, I will still know how to use the internet. The demographic of old people who are "scared of the Interwebs" will not be around too much longer.
Old people do read the paper. I see it everyday. Let them have the P-I and the yourh can keep the Times or The Stranger should merge with the Times and become a daily tabloid.
They should accept ads from escorts.
So your recipe is to turn the regular paper into The Stranger? Brilliant. It is clear that this will be a successful strategy because clearly The Stranger already has a larger readership than the regular papers. Wait, what's that? You mean it doesn't?

Seriously, many adults want their news to not be "edgy".
The Chronicle has always been such a snooze. How's the San Jose Mercury doing? They do a lot more real reporting as far as I can tell.
i agree half way with this plan of action, however tossing objectivity seems like a route to a bad place. true, many newspapers confuse objectivity with cowardice, but journalistic integrity is a vital aspect of the media.
The Stranger is in secular decline just like the dailies.
@16. True. Maybe it's not "objectivity" that needs to go but "the kind of objectivity currently practiced". Campbell Brown said something that I loved -- basically, if Candidate A says it's raining outside and Candidate B says it's not, then journalists should be able to say whether it's raining or not.

The attitude of "we have to provide both sides of the story and not take sides even when there are factual inaccuracies" is ridiculous.
The problem with newspapers is less declining readership than declining ad revenue. The connection is that the lucrative advertising demographic is different from the newspaper demographic.

Weekly papers like The Stranger have a good match between readership and advertisers, but it doesn't follow that you can just replicate that success with dailies. I think it would also be difficult to go the other way, and add daily-style reporting to a weekly newspaper culture. The Stranger would have a hard time hiring laid off journalists from the Times or PI and making their work profitable because its advertisement model depends on a weekly publishing cycle and the advertisers interested in daily publishing wouldn't be the same. To put it bluntly, people are willing to read personals, escort ads, ads for clubs and art shows etc. once a week as they contemplate what to do on the weekend, but they're less likely to want to do that every day over their morning coffee.

If there was an easy answer to this, someone would have figured it out by now.
Is it even possible? Lots of youth oriented products like Rolling Stone or the Honda Civic are able to grow old and flabby with their consumers, but how does a product that is already old and flabby appeal to young people? More likely The Stranger will grow more restrained and reactionary as its readers age. Plus, once equality for gays is finally achieved, gay men will finally get to be as conservative as they always wanted to be, and The Stranger will need to cater to that or lose them.

It's all so depressing.
I guess I'm a dim bulb, but I thought it would bring in money to add an Internet News section to report on I-happenings and for running ads about internet sites just getting started or who need more exposure.
I have an idea.

Rename the Seattle Times something like Ye Olde Seattle Times And Suburban Paper.

And then rejigger the Seattle P-I into a paper aimed at younger readers, where you can opt out of parts you don't want - e.g. no sports or no business or no food section.

And do it in a tabloid format with TWICE AS MANY PAGES OF COMICS as it has today.
I agree with Dan. I don't think he's suggesting any major daily paper "become the Stranger" or abandon "objectivity". He's saying that a) major papers need to stop pretending to be Emily god-damn Post and write in a way that reflects how adults communicate with each other, and b) to be open about your biases as a reporter. Reporters are human - humans have biases. It's preferrable for a reporter to just let their biases hang out for all to see than to pretend they are some high-minded journalistic robot with no opinions or ideas of their own, the full-flower of which being the hysterical pursuit of "journalistic balance", which in practice amounts to pretending there are 2 legitimate sides to every story, when often times the truth is that one side is telling the truth and the other is lying through their teeth...
@16 18
I agree with half of the perscription but the other half.
It is fine for papers to acknowledge that they have a point of view, everyone does and it is dishonest to pretend you even can be 'objective'. Just be upfront with it.
However; profanity and crudity are impediments to good communication, even in an 'edgy' publication.
@23: It's one thing to acknowledge your biases. It's another thing to let them totally warp your reporting, so that you only report those facts that support your point of view. A good reporter can do both: Lay out all the facts for the reader -- even those that don't support your viewpoint -- and then point out why one position is better than the others.

A bad reporter, on the other hand, is Erica Barnett.
I like the idea of being able to subscribe to specific sections.

There should be a newspaper that is all comics, like The Comic News (http://thecomicnews.com/).

I would also subscribe to an all-Crossword Puzzle newspaper.

USA Today used to have an All Sports newspaper that folded but I think the Sporting News is still around.

How much is Frank's paper worth these days? Any chance we could get some angel investors together to buy the damn thing and use it as a demonstration case of how one might be able to save the industry?
Hi elswinger,

There IS a newspaper that is all comics, like thecomicnews.com. It's the print edition of The Comic News! And you can subscribe to it; details are on the site.

John Govsky
The Comic News co-publisher