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radical ideas for struggling paper

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by njhutc0, Feb 20, 2007.

  1. njhutc0

    njhutc0 New Member

    Ok, boys and girls. Don't hold back on this one! LOL
    I'm the SE of a small daily in a midwestern state with a sagging circulation and a very apathetic community. I've been here for four years and I'm growing more and more frustrated by the response, or lack of response, from our readers, area coaches and just about everyone else in this county - including my ME, publisher and the rest of our staff.
    I put out a solid product (my sports pages have been judged first or second in my category each of the last four years....not to brag) and I've tried lots of different ideas to get people involved...but, with exception of nasty e-mails every once in a while, I get very little input.
    So, I think I'm ready to try something radical, something totally off the wall and perhaps even controversial. I just want more people to be interested in my sports section....even if I have to try some ridiculously gimmicky idea.
    So....what's the wildest, wackiest, weirdest idea you guys and girls have ever heard of?? Honestly, at this point I'm ready to try anything!
  2. HejiraHenry

    HejiraHenry Well-Known Member

    We can go there ... but are you sure you wouldn't rather put your energy into finding a better place?
  3. Starman

    Starman Well-Known Member

  4. Tom Petty

    Tom Petty Guest

    good thought henry.

    the man makes a helluva point hut ... don't build an airport in hooterville. hone the idea and at least try it out where folks would buy tickets or at least come by and take a look.
  5. sartrean

    sartrean Member

    I've always wanted to do this, but I'm not sure how it would go over at first.

    Ever read The Onion? Well, how would people in your community react to an Onion-esque sports section?

    Oftentimes at the various shops I've worked at, I've created dummy pages or others in the office created dummy pages full of that issue's stories and photos, except we'd put crazy headlines and cutlines, sometimes we'd photo shop the pictures to look crazy.

    For example, one photo of a soccer goalkeeper looking determinedly upfield, we photoshopped a cigarette in his mouth, and I wrote a cutline that said Keeper X had enough time for a smoke break since last Saturday's semifinal round of the playoffs against Podunkville was played entirely in front of the Podunkers' goal. Hometown High won 7-0, but Keeper X went through a whole pack of Marlboros in the contest.

    One basketball celebration photo with throngs of people on the court, we put a cutline on it that said Hometown High players were infuriated the Democrats retook the House and Senate in last night's midterm elections.

    There are some more examples, more vulgar examples, but sometimes I think folks with a sense of humor would dig a very local Onion-type newspaper. Not the same medium, but The Daily Show is so popular, and people take it quite seriously, so seriously that Faux News has created a right-of-center version of the show. Tomorrow's journalism will be mixed with humor. And all journalism is merely entertainment anyway.
  6. Big Buckin' agate_monkey

    Big Buckin' agate_monkey Active Member

    Use reverse type ... in the entire section.
  7. Riddick

    Riddick Active Member

  8. MileHigh

    MileHigh Moderator Staff Member

  9. MGoBlue

    MGoBlue Member

    The above post stole my answer ... what the hell you doing in Smallville? Move on!

    But a serious answer. Do your best to give your readers what they can't find on the Internet. Then package it in an interesting way, highlighting an interesting person or story when you can. If you do that, you will have a solid base.

    You will never please everyone. Stop trying. And trash those negative emails. Been my experience after 20 years in the biz that negative emails come from negative people who truly are worthless (though there is an occasional good point).
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