A Broken Newspaper Model

I truly had no idea how much sports coverage rules the newspaper in Seattle.

Today’s Seattle Times sports section has eight by-lined stories (35%) and two columns (100%) from staff (12 pages, 23 stories and two columns). Compare that to two by-lined stories (8%) and one column (100%)  in A section (18 pages, 26 stories and one column); three by-lined stories (33%) and two columns (40%) in the B section (local, 8 pages, 9 stories and five columns); and one local by-line (11%) and one column (33%) in the business section (6 pages, 9 stories and three columns).

Why not rename the paper the Seattle Sports Times? There is more staff-produced sports news than local, state, national and international news combined. When opinion is thrown into the mix, the two piles are numerically equal.

Does anyone besides me see why this model is not sustainable? Hint: the paper offers little unique perspective or voice on events in the region. Instead, the most expensive paper of the week is chock-full of wire copy that can be easily found online. For free.

This phenomena is not limited to the Sunday paper. I’d noticed it in the Monday-Friday paper, but I haven’t had time to sit down and systematically count stories until today. For those of you who remember that we canceled our subscription, we re-subbed because Mike’s parents are here and his dad really likes to read the morning paper. When they leave, we’ll more-than-likely cancel again.

By Kathy E. Gill

Digital evangelist, speaker, writer, educator. Transplanted Southerner; teach newbies to ride motorcycles! @kegill

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