Hot Off the Press: Day 2 of Pensacola’s new design

That’s today’s front page; bigger view here. The Pensacola News Press continues its experiment with two editions — this one, for single-copy sales only, to appeal to younger readers.

[Image: Newseum]

13 Responses to “Hot Off the Press: Day 2 of Pensacola’s new design”

  1. Anonymous Says:

    Executive Editor Dick Schneider told the staff several weeks ago that this new design is an attempt to retain female readers in the 18 to 34 year old age range as we increased our single-copy price from 25-cents to 75-cents. Note in his column that this bold new edition isn’t going to home delivery customers who aren’t affected by the price increase. He told that we anticipated at least a 21 percent drop in single-copy sales due to the price increase, but that never materialized.

    So what’s the result?

    We’ve taken our main paper and turned it into a niche product for young women. By dumbing-down our already dumb content, this redesign says we think poorly of the women in our community who, according to market research, were already buying our paper anyway. Cutouts of Britany Spears and bad magazine design will NOT lure young people (male or female) to this paper.

    No one (and I literally mean no one) in this newsroom likes this idea other than Dick. That’s only because it was his idea. Dick told the news staff that this was something he threw at the wall during a conference call with corporate. He was later told to run with it, which gives a little window into the depth of desperation in this company. Never have I been somewhere that invested more time in planning to execute bad ideas instead of coming up with good ones.

    Now the already short-staffed, overworked copy desk must work even more to create this “special” edition. Middle-managers piss and moan openly in front of reporters about having to do more planning, but they do it anyway because they are afraid to push back at Dick’s idea. The reporters, already writing for the Web, producing video, taking pictures and writing stories, complain about having to reshape their stories for yet another format. Another unspoken result is that editors force reporters to shoehorn young women into stories as sources.

    Sheer madness.

    These feeble attempts to appeal to “the youngsters” are always misguided and done without ever consulting someone in the newsroom within the affected age range. The publisher, executive editor, managing editor and chief content editor here are four of the most out-of-touch people you will ever meet.

    The three main complaints I hear from readers are “What happened to the news? Why is your paper so thin? Why are all of these stories so short?” These people must not take part in our readership surveys, or maybe we just don’t listen because they aren’t women ages 18 to 34.

    Our Web sites and papers won’t survive if there’s nothing on them worth reading or watching. Doing a better job of reporting, telling better stories and giving people something worth spending their time and money on will save all of our papers.

    The Great Gannett Experiment of marginalizing news has failed. Let’s stop treating our community papers like mini-USA Todays and get out there and tell people what they need to know. Then maybe we can repair our shattered reputations and regain some shred of respect in our communities.

  2. Anonymous Says:

    Doubt readers really know (or care) what “single copy edition” means. Using newspaper lingo to ask a question (How do you like our single copy edition?) at the bottom of the paper could be confusing. I’d use the space some other way or simply ask “How do you like our facelift or new look?”

  3. Anonymous Says:

    It actually looks a lot better because I can figure out what the news is immediately. That said, it doesn’t seem like a long-term strategy to produce two papers at the same time, so I hope they shit or get off the pot for the sake of the copy editors.

    Oh, and if readers didn’t notice a $0.50 increase, then bully for you and your bottom line. I continue to wonder why papers that could sell for $1 a day don’t try to do just that.

  4. Anonymous Says:

    Segmenting the audience has great potential, but is incredibly expensive. So what’s next after young women: newspapers for sports nuts, stockholders, elderly, etc., each of which have to be laid out and edited differently.
    And of this edition, I’m sorry but I don’t get it. What is the particular appeal to young women of the lead story on a Pensacola survey of the city’s identity, or driving at 55. I always fold the newspaper in half for single sales because that’s the way a potential buyer will see it on the stands, and what I find is nothing there that makes me want to look.
    Maybe they have done some market surveys on this, or maybe I’m just dumb and stupid???????????

  5. Anonymous Says:

    Maybe they have done some market surveys on this, or maybe I’m just dumb and stupid???????????,

    Answer this question: You still work for Gannett?

  6. Anonymous Says:

    Chasing after an elusive butterfly. I just don’t understand why they will never see that they will never be able to capture enough of that demographic to make any of their efforts worthwhile.

  7. Anonymous Says:

    I’m a woman of that age and I do read online but I also like the print editions. Women and especially moms like to read print. That’s why there are 700 women’s magazines and only a handful of men’s magazines.

    The women’s media is doing far better than their male counterparts. 85% of ad dollars chase women.

    The media habits of women are very different than men…a lot of research supports that.

    If you don’t evolve as a media brand to bring in younger readers, then your audience will just die off. And even though the younger set uses a lot of digital media, the younger women do read print.

  8. Anonymous Says:

    I used to work at the Pensacola paper years ago selling ads, I saw this “facelift” today where I stopped for some coffee. Looks like just another way to try and distract people from the fact that the paper is so thin, hardly any ads, and there’s hardly any news in it. The new look is just smoke and mirrors.

    I agree with what was said earlier, it’s the easiest answer and most obvious: Make the paper necessary for people, no matter what age, to read and they will buy it. And they’ll read it.

  9. Anonymous Says:

    @7:32 AM

    Bad idea? Or you just upset you have to do more work to try to save a hurting business? Newspaper folks complain more and more about fitting..gasp.. a full days work in a full day.
    Less time to surf the web at work eh?

    Hats of to Pensacola for making an attempt at something relatively new.

  10. Anonymous Says:

    I don’t mind the idea or the experiment, it’s just that the product I’ve seen (only on the Internet) for the last two days doesn’t hit the buttons I would want to hit. So we are all critics and cynics, and maybe teenaged girls and young women are mobbing local stores each day to buy this product. Bu somehow, I suspect that is not the case because these papers don’t have the appeal.

  11. Anonymous Says:

    It’s weak, weak, weak.

  12. Anonymous Says:

    Looks to me as if it is put together to try and appeal to the target female reader group, while at the same time not pissing off a casual man who happens to pick it up. They so obviously trying to find a middle that it fails to appeal to anyone. They got my attention with the “How bad is bad? It depends” headline, but then lost me completely when I saw the story involved the city council’s responding to a survey containing negative views of Pensacola’s image. Who is the idiot who felt this stuff sells single issues?

  13. Anonymous Says:

    Looks like a stateside equivalent to the Daily Mail in the UK. At least the Brits know how to pull it off.

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