Newspapers Need to Get to the Point

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Newspaper circulation in the United States has been sliding for about 20 years. I have an idea that might help these papers get back on track. If the average paper has about 200 stories and the average reader has about 20 minutes to read it, he can spend only about six seconds on each story.

But stories are often written in the meandering style of William Faulkner. If the headline reads, "Bridge Set to Close Down for Repairs" the story might begin with: "Bob Wilson gazed down at his empty coffee cup and listened to the patter of rain falling gently against his window pane."

Then, after reading about two paragraphs of fluff like this, the reader is told to "See BRIDGE, C21, Col. 1" to learn when the bridge will be closed. We clearly need a newspaper digest that will get to the point more quickly. I'm sure that it would be a huge hit for any publisher smart enough to offer it.

-- Joseph Carducci

Pittsburgh


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