Like a television station with a new format and broadcast studio, the Idaho Statesman is proud as punch about a change in the product they plan to offer readers April 19.
Thursday the new editors and publisher made a gracious gesture to the “Statesman Alumni” living in Boise (most work for government agencies), sharing their news presentation plans while offering a peek at the new design. They used terms like “jazzed, buzz, and flippers” describing the excitement of staff and habits of readers.
We don’t have samples, but the GUARDIAN can offer a “scoop” on what to expect from the latest addition to the McClatchy newspaper chain, based on mock ups we were shown. The California based company wants to be the “local paper” for Southwest Idaho. Might as well, everyone else is from the Golden State!
Like a TV station, the Statesman invested a bunch in surveys and consultants to offer “just the right mix of news and features.”
Newspapers today are under assault by TELEVISION, INTERNET, and BLOGS.
So what do they offer? A front page that looks like it came straight off a YAHOO or GOOGLE home page…and they plan to offer TELEVISION in the form of streaming video after publisher Michael Petrak watched the NCAA March madness on his desktop.
Top half of the new format will have only one or two stories which they can conveniently swap in or out of the spaces for “localized” editions in Boise, West Ada, and West Treasure Valley. This “new” distribution theme was standard practice 35 years ago.
Bottom half of the “cover” as page one is known today will be YAHOO style with a batch of short headlines and teasers which require you to figuratively “click” to view the story…found on other pages inside the paper.
Some other changes or at least new wrappers for the same products:
–News Assistants will do what we used to know as “rewrite” and offer up short items about clubs, schools, communities, churches, etc. under the heading of “Communities.”
–”Varsity Extra” will potentially be a money maker. Like the TV stations and their Prep helicopters, the Statesman has 3 new sports reporters and claim they will cover 42 schools 5 days a week.
–Editorials will now be “Opinions” and there should be more of them from more viewpoints.
–In what has to be a concession to fads, they will offer a “sudoku puzzle” daily, despite the fact none of the editors can pronounce it.
–A desperation move to run yearbook photos of high school seniors has the potential of daily “corrections,” (mixed up names and spelling errors) but they may sell a paper if Johnny’s mom can say, “Johnny had his picture in the paper today.”
–Tim Woodward, probably the best writer on the staff, has been recycled yet again. Instead of covering Lewis and Clark’s 200 year old journey, he is going to visit and report on where people go when they are not at work or at home. This could be fun if they let him try the strip clubs, massage parlors, bars, movie theaters, and other secret spots in the area…which won’t be secret after he tells us about them.
–Finally the paper plans to devote a greater effort to their web site.
The GUARDIAN has never looked at the mainstreamers as competition, but if they start using terms like, COMMISHES, COUNCILOR, or “FOR YOU NON LIBRARY TYPES…”
we will all know where it came from. If they resort to talking about POOP and writing sarcastic bits about local government, we will declare war and go after their advertising dollars.
Remember, you read the inside poop about the Statesman on the GUARDIAN! We wish them well with the new product, but most of OUR content comes from YOU!
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