This morning, I read the local daily paper on newsprint over breakfast. This should be no big deal since I’ve gotten the local paper delivered to me since my sophomore year of high school. But in an experiment that started last summer and accelerated this fall and spring, I’ve moved my most of breakfast reading online. I still get the local paper on Thurs and Sunday (don’t ask me why the SFChronicle offers this combo), but otherwise, I bring my laptop to the kitchen and scan a half-dozen sites (including the Chron) while drinking my coffee.
Do I miss the paper? Yes. I love the seeing the news well layed out. I like the editor designing the pages so I can easily see what they think is worth reading. I love the serendipity of finding good stories that I may not have clicked on in the browser. I love the act of folding the paper over. I even like the ads better.
But then, I do not like the fact that I’ve already read half of the top stories the previous night. I don’t like the idea that someone drove in his car to throw ink drawn on dead trees wrapped in plastic on my driveway. And I don’t think the cost of the paper subscription is worth the marginal value of the paper experience.
If my experience is not uncommon, then the print paper goes away and we need to see a business model that works for the local paper. Finding a new business model is not the subject but I suspect a combination of prominent and useful local ads and inserts (I still want to see if what’s selling locally), high-value ads based on a local specialty with national appeal (say tech for the SJ Mercury News) and premium content subscription may be the answer. Fleshing that out will have to wait until another morning.photo by Brenda Anderson