Reaching out to readers

Last week’s Editor and Publisher reported on readership editors and other efforts to get all departments of the newspaper to think about readers. Editorial departments at many newspapers don’t think as much about readers as they claim. If they did, they probably would not trim the high school sports sections.

Steve Yelvington’s current post on his site says the only way newspapers can reverse 30 years of readership decline is boldly rethink the entire product line.

When the audience becomes fragmented, the right thing to do is to find targeted ways to connect with those fragments. You can’t draw together an audience that you don’t reach, and you can’t fix the circulation problems of newspapers by trying harder to sell the newspapers that fewer and fewer people want to read.

The E&P piece mentions resistance to change by various departments at newspapers and difficulty in getting resources to building readership as hurdles in reader-awareness efforts.

A bit of success will focus their attention. If the new tabloids publishing now in Chicago, Dallas (A.M. Journal Express and Quick), New York or elsewhere take off, more newspaper owners will take notice. Hypergene MediaBlog doesn’t expect these tabloids to be successful long term because they are trying to create a newspaper reading habit for 18-34 year-olds, who already have online news-reading habits.

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