The New York Times is making plans for editions of the paper tailored to the Chicago area and other metropolitan markets, in addition to the San Francisco edition it plans to launch this fall.
“We’re in conversations with potential news providers in Chicago about adding local content to The Times,” said Diane C. McNulty, a spokeswoman for The Times. “Our intent is to roll out these expanded reports in several key markets around the country, with Chicago following San Francisco. The details are still being discussed. The idea is to provide additional quality local content for our readers.”
Plans for the San Francisco edition call for adding to the paper, twice a week, two additional pages of news about northern California. At first, the added content will be produced by The Times’ own writers and editors. But eventually, the plan, as in Chicago, is to turn the production over to a local partner.
Speaking for myself, I’d probably enhance my NYT subscription to include weekdays when this happens1. The Chicago Tribune has shrunk its news hole so drastically that reading the entire front section takes about 9 minutes, on a good day. Some days there are about 150 words of interest to me in the whole paper. Chicago sports is still multiple pages, of course, but who gives a rats ass about the Bears or the Cubs? Not I. There are much better sports writers on the web anyway, especially for the one sport I follow2. The Tribune brain-trust has decided that the only way for profitability is to fire/retire all of the actual reporters, and make the paper easier to browse while sitting on the bus. Shorter stories, more pictures, more entertainment news. Bleh. The New York Times, on the other hand, is still filled with words in complex sentences, and not just pretty3 graphics. I may disagree with the NYT on various topics, but it is the best newspaper now being published.
Will be very interested to see how this shakes out. Will the Tribune counter this incursion by increasing their news collection? Or just continue fading into irrelevance? My subscription to the Tribune lapsed last week, and I struggled with the decision to renew it or not. I decided I would give them one more year to figure out their audience, so we’ll see.
Newspapers should focus on what they do best: collecting & analyzing data about our society and world, and stop tarting themselves up to attract 19 year old boys who can’t read anyway.Footnotes: