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What would you do?

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by RedCanuck, Oct 2, 2006.

  1. RedCanuck

    RedCanuck Active Member

    You're at a weekly, or twice-weekly, if you will, where you publish twice a week in a community of about 15,000. You publish a subscription-based paper on Wednesdays - it goes to a paid circulation of about 3,000. You publish a free paper on Fridays that goes to a circulation of about 15,000. Free paper has a competitor, paid paper doesn't. Wednesday broadsheet has two-page sports section, Friday tabloid two-three.
    Anyway, subscriptions dwindle because you're forced to put more and more stuff into the Friday paper to keep competition up. Publisher wants to see better Wednesday product, though (she can't see the value of cancelling it, giving up subscriptions and using the extra money to kill competition on Friday).

    At any rate, now the publisher would like to relaunch the Wednesday paper with more content, one more staff for the department, etc. A) Do you decrease free content to bolster paid section, B) What innovations would you consider to boost that paid section, given that the scope is ultra-local? Columns, polls, bigger photos, anything?
  2. Googlaw

    Googlaw Member

    That's a tough one. I think I would stick more with game stories and features for the free section, and load the paid section with features and agate. People pay to see their kid's name in the paper.
  3. paris trout

    paris trout Member

    In the immortal words of Professor Gumby, my brain hurts.

    After reading the original post, I kept wondering if some Gannett bean-counter had gotten a new job writing the SAT.
  4. Rosie

    Rosie Active Member

    Around here a couple of the weeklies/bi-weeklies have a free shopper which is primarily ads with a story or two thrown in once in a while.

    If you're putting out both a free and paid paper each week, my thoughts are make the paid paper a kick-a** paper. Decrease content in the free paper, add more photos (think color if you aren't already), more features, columns -- heck, you know the drill.

    And since you mention the scope is "ultra-local," as much as many around here will scream, consider doing a youth sports page or half-page. But make it crystal clear that the paper reserves the right to edit all submissions!

    Good luck!
  5. Starman

    Starman Well-Known Member

    Put anything anybody would pay money to read in the paid edition.

    And put everything else in the free edition.
  6. RedCanuck

    RedCanuck Active Member

    Sorry, that's what I get for writing a late night rant that tries to cover too much.

    It's frustrating, because our competition only has the free paper and they put everything into it. Fortunately, they don't cover much sports now, but I have a feeling they will if I start to divert more and more to the paid product.

    I like the idea of more features and in-depth stuff in the paid product, and I'm going to expand the agate - though not because "people like names." I was thinking I might also devote a page or so to recreational sports - like golf and curling tips, etc. because it might go over well in this market.

    We do a fair amount of youth sports now, and I'm not sure I want to expand to every youth sport under the sun, but a page now and then might work.

    The exciting part is trying to rebuild and rebrand, so to speak. Half the things we did because 'we've always done it' can be altered.
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