Well I woke up Sunday morning, with no way to hold my head that didn’t hurt.
Saturday morning, I woke up feeling like two 3L towers of beer had fallen on my head — and for good reason. On my way to get a a greasy breakfast to help settle the mercury bouncing between my lobes, I stopped by a magazine store to buy a newspaper. And I got to thinking: “maybe newspapers aren’t as screwed as everyone thinks, after all.”
You see, my preference for new is pretty much international, business, and then maybe national news (i.e. Canada). And in this magazine store I had my pick of papers. I could’ve bought a copy of the New York Times (NYT), or stayed a bit closer to home with the Globe and Mail, but instead I opted for the Montreal Gazette.
Why? Well, it wasn’t for the editorial or the coverage. The paper has a grade seven reading level, is infamous for typos and grammatical errors, and most of the national and international coverage is syndicated from newswires such as the Associated Press or Canadian Press.
But I chose a copy of the Montreal Gazette because it’s familiar to me. The NYT is an authoritative expert, but it’s also a complete stranger. And The Globe: well, we’ve met, and maybe even shaken hands, but we’ve never even gone for a drink together.
But The Gazette, I grew up with The Gazette. We’re not the closest of friends, but we know each other, and if I’m going to share my Saturday morning with someone, I’d rather be someone I’m comfortable with than a complete stranger.
And there might be something there that local papers can use to reinvent themselves. When you think about how both national and local papers are having more and more trouble justifying their weekday print editions, you have to wonder whether they might be better off saving forest 5 days a week.You see, our lives and routines have changed, not just our consumption of information. In fact, it’s probably our changing lives that have altered the way we consume content. And when it comes to the news, a print edition is just too cumbersome for both the news-cycle and our weekday lifestyle.
On weekends, however, we’re looking for something other than news. We’re looking for an experience, and on the weekends we have time for that to be more than just a user experience. We have the time to sit down have a physical experience, sharing sections with family and friends over the breakfast table.
So maybe the answer for newspapers is to ditch the print edition — 5 days a week. Maybe they should be cutting overhead and becoming hyper-local social news organizations from Monday to Friday and focus their print efforts on producing a kick-ass weekend editions that’s like a weekly digest of everything their local communities need/want to know.