It’s a failure; let’s double it!

The Chicago Tribune, apparently keenly aware of the current newspaper economic crisis, has decided to print two versions of its paper: a broadsheet version for home delivery and a tabloid version for newsstands. Both will have the same content, just formatted differently.

Does this sound excessively stupid to anyone else? They’re going to have to use valuable resources to edit and layout two newspapers (and unless they’ve outsourced it to India, this is an expensive proposition), with editors doing two sets of layouts with different headlines, photos, captions and story lengths.

The Tribune says it has no plans to force home subscribers to switch to tabloid, but I can’t imagine one of the two not being forced to close and replaced with the other down the road to save costs.

4 thoughts on “It’s a failure; let’s double it!

  1. adam hartung

    Sam Zell refused to accept that the internet had changed competition. Now readers can get more news faster and cheaper on the web – and Tribune Corporation has simply ignored the shift. Lowering paper cost will not save the Chicago Tribune and LA Times. It will take a new leader, and a new strategy. Likewise, making employees work for free is no solution for the market shifts making USAToday and Gannett less viable. Read more at http://www.ThePhoenixPrinciple.com

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  2. Jean Naimard

    Why can’t I stand reading a broadsheet (it’s impractical, and I still can’t fathom how west-islanders are able to fold and refold the papers they read on the commuter train) while I won’t be caught dead reading a tabloïd????

    Now, a newspaper has managed to combine both peeves of mine!!!!

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  3. James

    Look to the UK. A couple of years ago almost all national broadsheets shifted to tabloid format, but did it in very different ways. The Independent was the first (and quite the bravest) by commencing a trial of the broadsheet and then switching over entirely in one move. The Times, perhaps propped up by the deeper pockets of News International, took longer running two concurrent formats like the Chicago Tribune. However the costs of this dual mode operation were unsustainable, and the newspaper finally shifted after much hullabaloo.

    If a newspaper is committed to cutting costs and considers moving to tabloid the way forward, it should just change over. Running an expensive “trial” or dual-format operation just emphasises readers’ disapproval or approval and costs money. Eventually, even sworn broadsheet lovers like myself end up admitting it’s a damn site easier to read in bed or the subway.

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