Tuesday, March 25, 2008

The Morning News - the newspaper I love to hate

So my daily newspaper unveiled its latest look this morning. And it just screams USA Today. The pages are narrower and the section mastheads have a new colorful font. My pages weren't actually narrower this morning, just more white space on the sides - apparently they aren't done with all the old newsprint yet.

They assure us that this won't mean fewer stories. But I can guarantee you it will mean fewer words. Like in the story in the business section this morning about the price of oil and the stronger dollar. It was five paragraphs long. No, I'm sorry, upon closer examination, it's five sentences long, each sentence indented.

It makes me consider ditching the DMN for the Wall St. Journal, but the Journal's opinion pages make me angry, so there's no where to turn but the NY Times, which has such a user friendly site that I don't need the print edition (except on Sundays, which I will not relinquish any time in the forseeable future).

So I'll plod along with The Dallas Morning News, just taking whatever they throw at me, until it completely devolves into the free Quick tabloid the News publishes for commuters.


Kevin L. Richardson said...

This is disappointing. The Startle-Gram went to this "News 2.0" format several months ago. It takes some getting used to...and I'm still not there.

This trend will continue. Print media is looking for any way to keep it's dwindling subscription base propped up for as long as possible and focus groups are telling them that making the print medium look more like the online media is the way to go.

Prediction: We will see the demise of print daily papers in our lifetime. In fact, I think it'll happen in the next 5 years.

Reason: Outside of the pleasure the actual printed word provides for some (now in the minority), what value does the paper bring that can't be found anywhere else?

Answer: Nothing.

The boomer crowd is what's holding papers together. As they age, our generation won't support yesteryear's medium of journalism.

Hang on to the new edition of the DMN, and to a copy of the former. They'll both be worth $ someday as antiques.

Brian said...

I agree it appears to be headed that way. The major dailies are headed out the door. There may still be room for a few national/superregional newspapers.

I would say there are a couple of things newspapers bring to the table.

One is portability. I can read my newspaper on the train. And until I get an iPhone or a Kindle, that is not an option electronically. That hurdle is being overcome.

The more important one is original content. This is disappearing as newspapers clean house and reprint stuff that comes in over the newswire. There was a good story in the NYT today about the dearth of print reporters on the campaign trail this year.

I am starting to lean more towards getting the WSJ Mon-Sat to complement my Sunday Times. I may do that on a trial basis to see how I like it.

The only thing keeping me with the DMN is their local coverage, which isn't that great. If they had a decent web site I'd drop the print version pretty quickly.

Anonymous said...

The measure of a newspaper will be ( if not now applicable ) the room givento the news staff to blog. The economics of the presentation copy are not the same as the blog pages. Good reporters need to write -- and have a voice within their employers' "pages". That news becomes more and more USA Today is inevitable as the Internet itself promotes quick takes on the news. Look to the blogs, look to the blogs!