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Fewer days or fewer pages?

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by deskslave, Feb 18, 2009.

  1. deskslave

    deskslave Active Member

    Something DanOregon brought up on the AJC thread got me thinking, and I didn't want to jack that one, so I made my own.

    He mentioned not wanting to bother with a paper if it's not at least 24 pages. And while this question doesn't affect papers like the AJC (at least not yet), I think it's likely to become an issue at papers of increasing size as we move down this shitbrick road.

    So, the question is: Would you rather a paper print seven days a week with perhaps 15 percent fewer pages and less content than is desirable, or would you rather a paper print six days a week and be a bit heftier. To steal a phrase from the inimitable Conrad Fink, is it more important that a paper plunk in the driveway rather than plinking, or is it more important that there be some sound every morning?

    To put it into concrete terms, let's say Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, you currently run 24 pages; Thursday, Friday and Saturday you run 32 and Sunday you run 48. (Numbers pulled completely out of my ass, more for ease-of-math purposes than anything.) Publisher comes down, says "we're spending too much on newsprint, cut 24 pages a week."

    Obviously, you can cut the Monday paper entirely and get those 24 pages all in one fell swoop. Or you could cut Monday and Tuesday to 20, Thursday, Friday and Saturday to 28 and Sunday to 44.

    Which do you do?
  2. DanOregon

    DanOregon Well-Known Member

    DS - I drop a day. Make Monday-Tuesday a "double-issue," you tighten up the supply of days advertisers can choose from, and perhaps increase demand.
  3. deskslave

    deskslave Active Member

    How do you make it a double issue? You can't add any pages on any of the other days. (Well, at least under my invented rules. :D)
  4. Mystery_Meat

    Mystery_Meat Guest

    Definitely pages. If you print fewer pages, you'll either cut lower-tier stories or cut a few inches from each story. If you skip a day and something major breaks that day, you let down the readers that don't go to your website. Of course, when that becomes a minority, the question becomes moot.
  5. jps

    jps Active Member

    that's just it, mm ... the model is changing. I think there's going to end up being a way to use the print to supplement the online and vice versa.

    I think either way is doable ... one way not mentioned is to cut web width, if possible. if you go from, say, 25 to 23 inches, you're gonna gain a lot of print/paper. maybe that's all you've gotta do.

    if I have to stick to the options, though? depends on the market, but I think many can and will start cutting out monday.
  6. Simon_Cowbell

    Simon_Cowbell Active Member

    Monday? Not in an NFL city.
  7. jps

    jps Active Member

    I agree, simon. depends on the market. but even then, what's to stop you from running mondays through the nfl season and then dropping it out of season?
  8. spikechiquet

    spikechiquet Well-Known Member

    We have been a six-day shop for a while. We don't print Sunday (Saturday mornings paper is called "The Weekend Edition").
    We also just got all overtime cut and our wedding announcement/birth announcement/church & club crap copy writer layed off for a month...so there's always that route.
  9. spnited

    spnited Active Member

  10. OTD

    OTD Active Member

    I think this trend of cutting days is bad, bad, bad. You want reading the paper to be a daily habit. If we take readers out of that habit, telling them in essence, that you don't need a paper everyday, then they're going to decide that they don't need a paper ANY day. And then we're screwed.
  11. spikechiquet

    spikechiquet Well-Known Member

    But reducing the number of pages a week overall will just get a different complaint: People are getting less pages for the same amount of money.

    Catch-22 rears its ugly head.
  12. OTD

    OTD Active Member

    They'll figure that out either way. Are the papers that are cutting a day cutting the subscription price?
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