Thursday, September 27, 2007

"Full of day-old stuff ..."

There's an interesting post and comment thread at the Visual Editors website here that's worth a read.

Yes, it's a random conversation with a single reader, but I found a lot to think about in the reflections this editor gained by talking with an airplane seatmate about newspapers.

Here's a sample:

After stowing my laptop under my seat, I asked her if she would be interested in reading one of the newspapers during the flight.

Her reaction, which I totally didn’t expect given how she had first inquired about the newspapers I had purchased, was a less-than-measured response:

“Naw, thanks, it’s just full of day-old stuff … ”

Realizing that she might have just insulted me, she quickly began to apologize: “I didn’t mean to say that you are wasting your time” … “It’s just that, in my experience, newspapers are a bit slow ... Whatever important news that I need is either on TV or on the Internet, you know.”
And this:

She seemed irritated, almost as if she felt cheated with her newspaper experience, which led me to inquire whether in fact she USED to be an avid reader.

Guess what: She was.

She had very strong feelings about what a newspaper’s role used to be versus now: “I used to read all the time 10 years ago, because my paper would tell me a lot that I didn’t know. It was full of stuff from around my area and the rest of the state. It made you feel smart to read it. It just isn't that way anymore."

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous5:14 AM

    To sum up the thread: 18 men, 2 women, responding to one person's reactions about newspapers, as you acknowledge.
    The posters use the thread to fret about their newspaper design jobs changing.
    The world's unfair. Shocker.
    The discussion is a barometer of how some design staffers are feeling. But an outsider would think they're like UAW workers who feel entitled to jobs that don't evolve. I hope readers don't judge all designers based on the postings.
    Some designers -- and other newspaper workers -- should get over the angst, fast, and then broaden skills and the kind of work they're willing to do. Companies should help, if they want a workforce with some experience in the future.