Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The Perfect Newspaper Story?

Back when newspapers could afford readership consultants, reporters were told that people loved articles about children and animals.

Long articles about boring city council meetings? No way. Readers are passionate about sports, crime, and religion, the business-side folks like to say. They need interesting "art" to break up the grey type and to grab their attention. Anything longer than a "tweet" (140 characters) is likely to lose them.

Put all of that together, and here's what you get:

"Dear Lord, thank you for bringing me to Timmy's house and not to Michael Vick's. Amen."

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I think the "reader" thing is a myth and has always been a myth. I posted a screed about it this am at

Newspapers always had mostly viewers and a small niche of readers. The idea that you have "capture attention" is dumb, these days.

But then again, newspapers make believe that they are not ad machines. But guardians of the public blablablabla...

"Oh, what tangled webs we weave, . . . etc.etc.etc.etc.