Tuesday, January 02, 2007

My friend, you never buy the newspapers

I'm as self-absorbed as the next guy.
Heck, who am I kidding? I'm considerably more self-absorbed.
So it feels particularly gratifying when it seems that something really is all about me.
So put yourself in my shoes -- the comfortable shoes of a middle-aged white professional who lives in New York, works in media, makes a six-figure income, invests in the market and rides the subway -- and consider the newly redesigned Wall Street Journal.

Now you can read what the Journal has to say about its new look by clicking here.
But what I find most interesting about the changes is how they reflect my life. I am the target audience of the Wall Street Journal. And the truth is that I changed how I consume news long before the Journal changed how it produces it.
And that, after all, is the point.
According to Editor and Publisher magazine, L. Gordon Crovitz, publisher of the Journal, "is rethinking how the Journal and its siblings like Dow Jones Newswires and MarketWatch produce and distribute content in an age in which newspapers are fast becoming an arguably irrelevant place to break news."
In simplest terms, the print edition of the Journal "
will move even further away from breaking news, letting the online version and its sister properties pick up the slack. The idea is to free up Journal reporters so they can do more in-depth, analysis-type stories that will better explain what the breaking news means. "

Consider, if you will, how I "experienced" the changes at the Journal.
I read that E&P article and a slew of reaction pieces over the weekend via RSS feeds to my news reader (Bloglines.) Then I read Crovitz' letter online this morning.
And when I decided to write something about the subject for my blog, I realized that I would have to walk to the corner store and actually buy a print edition -- something I haven't done in months.
So I did. And when I placed the Journal on the countertop the man from Iran who usually sells me milk, gum and lottery tickets said "My friend, you never buy the newspapers. Is this a resolution for the New Year?"

Now it's too early to tell if the print edition will work its way back into my heart. I'm not making any New Year's resolution about the Journal or anything else.
Nor would I go so far as to say that this move by the Journal or similar moves by other print products will be enough to save them. But the fact remains that mainstream media companies are moving back toward me after I moved away from them.
And that is probably a good thing for both of us.

For a look at some of the continuing problems in modernizing newsrooms, click here.
For an earlier post of mine on the topic of changing newsrooms, click here.
For an earlier post of mine about B2B magazines struggling with the needs of the new audience, click here.

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