Thoughts On The Saturday Morning Newspaper

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I consider myself a news junkie (you don’t want to see my in box flushed with e-newsletters, Google News Alerts and other breaking news notifications – a peek into Google Reader to see my feeds might also freak you out).
If the all-news TV network is not running in the background, I’m listening to talk radio (more likely some Podcasts), I read, at least, one newspaper per day. The Montreal Gazette is my standard fare and part of my daily morning ritual. At the age of thirty-five, I don’t think I’m among the majority. I don’t really know many people my age who consume the daily newspaper of their city every day (and on a subscription basis). Saturday is the Montreal Gazette’s big edition (think Sunday’s New York Times – only about one-tenth of the size).
There has been tons of Blog chatter in the past few months on future business models for newspapers. And, for some reason, after strolling through this morning’s edition, I was reminded of something that David Weinberger had said during his lunch keynote address at the CMA – Canadian Marketing AssociationDigital Marketing Conference 2006 which took place a couple of weeks ago. Someone in the crowd had asked the co-author of The Cluetrain Manifesto and author of Small Pieces Loosely Joined if he still reads newspapers. Weinberger answered in the affirmative, but then said, “the only problem I have with newspapers is that the news is already one day old.”
If you’re anything like me, a statement like that stops you dead in your tracks. Even TV news as “up to the minute” as it can be needs to be somewhat produced. I’ve always brought forward the notion of times-shifting when I do Blog postings about how technology, media and advertising are unfolding, and today, for some reason, newspapers seem… well… old (at least one day old).
I know we’re years away from RSS toppling email. I also don’t think that newspapers will ever go completely away. I do believe that the Internet continues to force us and publishers to look at how news is created and disseminated. I also believe that for the newspaper to continue to be relevant, it will have to become hyper-local. It will have to tell stories that truly affect the individual where they live. Citizen Journalists are everywhere. Take a sampling of the Bloggers in your city right now. Is that a fair and balanced overview of what’s happening in your world? Newspapers need to harness that type of divergent thought and meta-publish that content.
Otherwise, newspapers will always be one day old.


  1. Mitch:
    Great post. I have thought about subscribing to the local paper before, but keep coming back to the fact that by the time I get the paper…most of it is old news.
    How soon will someone start a “newspaper” in which all articles from reporters, news stories, etc are posted to an rss feed and subscribers get it on their aggregator? Not as an “added bonus” on the paper’s website, but as the sole means of distribution.
    Now that will be a good day.

  2. Hi Mitch,
    I’m also a news junkie – and share your habit of poring over the Saturday paper. I also agree that new channels are shaping how we get our fix of ‘what’s happening’. I’m as easily distracted by an RSS feed as a newspaper headline these days. There’s a true democratisation of information afoot
    But my love affair with newspapers isn’t at risk – yet.
    There’s still something compelling about reading the story 24 hours later to see if it still holds up as ‘news’. The facts may be a day old, but the news is in the analysis of the facts that happened while the day passed.
    Despite the longer lead times, GREAT newspapers still offer a lens across a broad range of subject matter – business, entertainment, sports, and – yes – news, in a format and for a price that I can’t get anywhere else – for now.

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