Friday, February 15, 2008

Sunday Should Never Be the Same

Juan Giner asks the question: Why do Sunday papers sell more than daily? His answers: We have more time to read, and they have more stories. (One could challenge his point about making daily papers smaller by saying, if we had more stories wouldn't they read more -- but that would, it's true, ignore the people who call to cancel saying "I have three months' worth of papers stacked up unread in my kitchen...")

Worrisome, though, is that Americans at least anecdotally seem to be having less time on Sunday than before. Perhaps the biggest enemy of newspapers is actually youth athletic leagues! Or at least the supposition that you are a bad parent unless you devote your weekends to cheering on your kids. (Hey, I did it.)

But perhaps another part of the answer is to be found in the front pages he highlights. Some of them just scream, "Read me!" Particularly on issues such as property taxes, price increases, killers and agricultural poisions on the loose.

On Sunday, we control the agenda. Daily, we often look at it and say, "Well, whadda we got?"

Yes, it's all tied up in staffing and deadlines and a whole bunch of issues that we are all well aware of. If a newspaper tried for a Sunday cover every day the staff would be burned out in a month. At the same time, presenting some story of high reader impact (not the same as High News Value) every day could work wonders. It seems to have worked in Waco, Tex.

But it would require saying: 1) The reader is not that interested in 2007 with the balanced-approach front page, and 2) The needs of the reader outweigh the needs of the staff to have an internal rewards system and pecking order based on getting stories onto A1.

Let's just all buy Berliner presses and make it easier on everyone.

1 comment:

Jim Thomsen said...

Are Sunday papers really being read more? Or are they just strip-mined more for ad inserts? Frankly, I always assumed the latter.