computer screens

A Newspaper Comeback Plan


If I were a newspaper publisher, I’d be waiting for that great sea change that’s bound to come when people who use computers start pining for newsprint.

Think that’s never going to happen? Take this easy quiz and see:

Dear Reader:

1) Don’t you get tired of looking at screens all day? There’s your computer at work, your computer at home, your TV, your cell phone, your camera, iPod, e-Reader, camcorder, iPhone. That’s about 10 different screens hitting our eyeballs all day.

2) Aren’t you running out of patience with bloggers like me endlessly citing “facts” you have to go verify? Not to mention all the bad writing, poorly expressed opinion and empty blather that parades around as “the democratization of publishing” (still a good idea but perhaps only in theory)?

3) Don’t you find it a blessing to read news sources where people are paid to write responsibly, where facts are already checked for you, where good critical writing has little to do with passing fashion or personal rant?

4) Has your healthcare professional encouraged you to take frequent breaks from the keyboard-and-screen so you won’t get RSL, tension headaches, blurry vision, stiff necks and back pain from holding arms and head at unhealthy angles for hours at a time?

5) Instead of discovering minor (to you) news by accident while you’re streaking around the Internet researching major (to you) news, wouldn’t you like everything that matters laid out for you every day by veteran editors and trained writers who can give you the world at a glance?

One Last Question

If you answered yes to three out of five questions, you may be on your way to a rich cultural mix that didn’t seem possible only a year ago. Here’s one more:

Wouldn’t it be a relief to find a nice resting place for those tired eyes, let’s say a noninteractive print environment that’s easy to read with no pop-ups, videos, podcasts or cookies? Just you and a cup of coffee and the morning paper. The world at your fingertips as you turn each page, the news (truly) factual and intriguing, reviews well stated without the hint of harangue, editorials put together by actual boards of knowledgeable (also paid) people.

But here of course is where newspaper publishers have to be bold. If they’re going to lure people back to newsprint, they have to put something in the newspaper that you can’t find on the Internet.

More in Part B next time.