Wick Communications

Save newspapers for Sundays?

In journalism on July 24, 2014 at 2:35 pm

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David Boardman shook up the journalism world last week with his breathtakingly well written and passionate suggestion that newspapers are dying. Actually, that doesn’t do his piece justice. You should read it yourself.

The important caveat for Boardman is that Sundays are still an opportunity to go long, that Americans will still get their fingers dirty on the seventh day, when presumably, we all have time to sit around and think about the world. He suggests a vigorous Sunday product with long-form journalism and all the rest, and an acknowledgement that the rest of the print stuff has to go. He suggests using those resources now spent Monday through Saturday editions be put toward “more reporters, photographers, videographers, data journalists, software developers, mobile designers, social-media experts, workflow architects, marketing strategists and digital advertising pros.”

Boardman, who is dean of the Temple University School of Media and Communication, president of the American Society of News Editors and chairman of the Poynter Institute’s National Advisory Board, says the future is digital and only deniers and liars would suggest otherwise. …

His essay was spawned by a much more rosy picture painted by Carolyn Little, who is president of the National Newspaper Association. Both are well worth reading. (And make sure you make time for the comment from Jeffrey Weiss of the Dallas Morning News after Little’s piece. He makes a lot of sense, too.)

There is a temptation to choose a side and cheer on your favorite worldview. I suggest it’s not that simple.

Boardman is right. The future is digital. It just is. Let’s stop arguing about that. There is zero evidence to the contrary. Print circulation trends, advertising sales projections, readership polls – all of it – points to more readers on devices and less with their heads stuck in newspapers. But that acknowledgment doesn’t equal a business strategy. All of us make far more money from print than we do online. All of us. Boardman sort of tacitly acknowledges as much in his defense of the Sunday newspaper.

And that’s what I wanted to say. One possibility is that we will increasingly “consume content” on glowing screens but continue to make room in our hearts for a weekly news recap that brings perspective to the week’s events. That is certainly the way we look at our task at the Half Moon Bay Review. Cover news online as it breaks; put it back together again in the weekly newspaper.

Look, I don’t have a crystal ball. Mark Zuckerberg Jr. may be in some middle school right now, dreaming up the next great disruption. I do know we need community and context and instant updates and photos of our kids’ school play and an entertainment calendar and a public forum. I see a place for us.

Clay

photo credit: <a href=”https://www.flickr.com/photos/mcbeth/355032250/”>McBeth</a&gt; via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a&gt; <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/”>cc</a&gt;

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