decemberists coming, wapo circ decline

Not-tremendously-interesting story from today’s paper. Another not-tremendously-interesting story coming in tomorrow’s.
Just as I previously said all right-thinking Dallasites should have been at the Clem Snide show a couple weeks ago, all right-thinking Texans should be at the Decemberists show tomorrow night. You shan’t regret it — they’re terrific live and the new album is aces.
Why the Washington Post is losing circulation. This is the most depressing part of the decline of my line of work: The Post is an amazing newspaper, led by very smart people, and in the perfect newspaper market, but it’s still dropping readers. Awful stuff.
The most annoying part of the article is the scene from the non-reader focus group: “Former subscribers complained unread papers piled up at their homes, making them feel guilty because they hadn’t read them. The responses were not ‘No, I don’t like the Post.’ They were ‘No, I don’t want that hulking thing in my house.'”
I’ve sat in on those focus groups, and I can verify that’s an incredibly common complaint. That idea — that it’s not the content that’s keeping people from reading, it’s the sheer physical artifact — is soooo maddening, since it means there’s not much we on the content side can do to make things better. Harrumph.

7 thoughts on “decemberists coming, wapo circ decline”

  1. I’m glad you didn’t fall for the sensationalist conclusion: “less people are reading the paper so people are less informed and don’t read any more.” I think many people just don’t want to pay for something they can get for free these days – Given so many more substitutes (I can choose to read the Post, the Times, the Morning-News, all basically for free), the relative value of the paper versus other mediums has fallen dramatically. I think that the only way some people can justify paying for the paper is if they actually read all of those articles that they wouldn’t actually get for free. Thus the response about the guilt feelings.

  2. Funny, your hulking, tangible product is what I like so much more than the ephemeral nonsense I produce. But no one ever invites me to participate in focus groups.

  3. I’ve cancelled my sub to DMN for similar reasons. I know it’s a big place, but perhaps you could pass to the right people that some of the more technical young people (like me, naturally) would love to have RSS feeds of the ENTIRE paper, section by section, and that some of us would actually pay for that right. I cancelled my WSJ sub for the same reason, and b/c it’s so convenenient AND THE SAME CONTENT, I’m never looking back.

  4. In fact, Yale is actually one big reality experiment, like The Truman Show. The only escape hatch is on the far corner of the New Haven green. Or in the Davenport cupola.
    (re: newspapers, harrumph indeed.)

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