The article "Slicing, Dicing News to Attract the Young" {front page, Jan. 6} describes a new study showing the decline in readership of newspapers, especially among young people. As a 16 year old, I find the solutions of some papers -- cutting stories; adding trivia; and including sections such as "Critter of the Month," "30 Second News" and tales of mall bathrooms -- insulting. Young people, who are neither shallow nor petty, do not deserve such condescension.

For the average teenager, a typical day is filled with school, extracurricular activities and, of course, homework. Finding time to read a newspaper is not easy. The papers blame the teen readership decline, aside from lack of time, on the fact that most papers do not have stories that interest young people. While it is a good idea to orient papers more toward younger people, for a newspaper to encourage an interest in malls over politics and to impose length limits that force reporters to leave out important information is outrageous. If these kinds of papers become common and these types of values for teenagers become the expected norm, teens will surely start to accept the lowered standards for themselves.

A better way to gear a newspaper toward younger people is to write about the major events from the angle of young adults, showing how they are affected. This approach does not mean glossing over essential details or shortening the story to a 30-second clip. The first step to attract the young is to respect them. SARAH GREENBERGER Washington

In his Jan. 13 Ombudsman column, Richard Harwood suggests that newspapers do not need to "reinvent the wheel" in order to attract readers. I agree. I think that major newspapers could find ways to attract and keep readers without becoming cartoon-like entertainment sheets like USA Today and the Florida paper described in a Jan. 6 article.

With the television on for hours a day in most households and TV news dedicated to providing a frame for advertisements, the last thing we need is more entertainment. But as an avid reader, news buff, long-time devotee of many magazines and subscriber to the Sunday Post, I too find I cannot justify a daily subscription.

I once took the paper daily. As Mr. Harwood points out, too often most domestic and foreign coverage provided a long-winded rehash of the previous day's news and analysis. The Sports, classified and Style sections usually went unread. I have time to catch up on entertainment and business news on the weekend, but what I want on a daily basis is broader and nonrepetitive domestic and foreign coverage -- i.e., a lengthy article on what's going on in China or South Africa, even as the Iraq crisis dominates the news.

If I still lived in Toronto, I could take the paper three times a week. That would solve my guilt about all that unread newsprint and save me such frequent trips to the recycling center.

I'd be willing to pay a higher subscription price for the kind of paper I want: the national and world news sections twice a week and the full Sunday paper. Perhaps delivery-route managers could hire teens to put together inserts to satisfy customers like myself who don't want the full paper every day: business people who don't read the Food section or fashion consultants or retailers who want the Style section but not the Metro section.

AMELIA WILLIAMS Charlottesville