Print rules, digital drools? Well …

Great quote in this POLITICO piece on the joy of newsprint:

“The print edition consistently leads me to unexpected stories I might have otherwise missed,” agrees Inc. Executive Editor Jon Fine. “I find digital editions and websites don’t have the same kind of serendipity—they’re set up to point you to more of the same thing.”

We get the Post only on weekends, and I like taking at least a couple of sections and browsing. (Yes, especially the comics, which simply have not made a solid transition online.)

But I don’t miss wrestling with a broadsheet newspaper seven days a week. And I’m puzzled that the typical newspaper has done so little to adapt its format.

First of all — broadsheet printing should only be used on Sundays, when people stretch out with the news on their coffee tables. It’s a no-go for commuters.

Before I left the newsroom, I often heard some people ask why we haven’t switched to a tabloid format or perhaps the Berliner, which is somewhere in between. It makes perfect sense. The weekday paper, if it exists at all, doesn’t need to be that size. It’s shrinking rapidly — pretty soon, each section will be one four-page sheet.

And newspapers haven’t really adapted to the shrinking paper. A daily paper should have some good medium-length features, appealing to the “serindipity” fans mentioned here, and a whole lot of briefs. And QR codes to see more online.

More than 20 years ago, our editor said he could picture different parts of the newsroom working on different products — a newspaper, a magazine, newsletters, and the website. We’ve improved the latter of those. Why not the first? And why aren’t we doing the other two?


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