Rearranging The Deck Chairs (Comics) On The Titanic (Newspapers)

from the oh,-come-on dept

It's no secret that newspapers are struggling to figure out how to adjust in the digital world. Despite the fact that many are still quite profitable, there are worries about growing pressure from the internet. One big aspect of this is the "Craigslist effect," where newspapers find that their classifieds section is unable to compete with Craigslist -- which, by the way, is not the same thing as saying that Craigslist somehow "costs" newspapers. There's no cost at all. If the newspapers can't compete, that's their problem -- not Craigslist's. While a few newspapers are trying to compete more directly with Craigslist (with some success, it looks like one newspaper in Boulder, Colorado is taking a different route. Instead of focusing on their online efforts, they're trying to make sure more people view their paper classifieds by moving all the stuff people always read (comics, horoscope, TV listings, puzzles and Dear Abby) right into the middle of the classifieds. Steve Outing over at E-Media Tidbits thinks this is a good idea, but it does seem a lot like rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. The problem isn't that people don't know where to find the classifieds -- but that they don't believe there's much value in them. Putting Dilbert and Dear Abby next to the listings doesn't change that.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    icon
    PsuedoDragon (profile), Feb 24th, 2006 @ 4:05am

    deck chairs

    since i live in colorado, id like to comment that Boulder, CO is nothing but aging pot smoking hippies, they wouldnt know real news if it landed in their lap, and to compare real newpapers like the washington post, the denver post or the ny times to some little pissant weekly reader from boulder, co is an insult to real newspapers everywhere.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
    identicon
    the unknown, Feb 24th, 2006 @ 5:01am

    Re: deck chairs

    hahaha... "hippies piss me off" (Eric Cartman)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
    identicon
    the unknown, Feb 24th, 2006 @ 5:08am

    pixelled paper

    Mike,

    When I was studying, a teacher of mine (MIT graduate) told me there was a research grant at MIT for the development of a type of paper that worked like a monochromatic screen (ie: pixelled, thus dynamic). Any idea where that technology is at today?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
    identicon
    Mike, Feb 24th, 2006 @ 5:47am

    I owe my job to such placement

    To be honest, it will increase readership of the classifieds, but probably not as much as they would expect. My local rag places a daily medical column and the equivalent of the Dear Abby in with the classifieds. Since I like to read the medical column, that puts me in the classified section. Last year, I took a few seconds to look at the job listings in my field and actually found something worth applying for. I got the job, a 36% bump in pay, much better benefits and am no longer stagnating in a dead end job.

    That being said, once I was done looking at the job listings, I folded up the paper and tossed it on the recycle pile, not bothering to look at more than a half-dozen ads. Not the result the papers are likely looking for, but definitely more than they would have gotten if the medical column had been outside the classifieds.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
    identicon
    Mr. Gone, Feb 24th, 2006 @ 5:55am

    Re: pixelled paper

    In "Minority Report."

    hooray for hollywood...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
    identicon
    Jamie, Feb 24th, 2006 @ 5:56am

    This should work for the short term

    This will probably help them a little. But it won't help them that much, since it doesn't address the main problem. People aren't looking to newspaper classifieds when they want to find something. In fact, most people aren't looking to newspapers for news anymore. It is much easier to find it online for free than to purchase a newspaper.
    Most likely this will just make those who buy the newspaper, for the articles, angry or annoyed. At a time when the newspaper industry is losing more and more subscriptions to other media(mostly online) that isn't such a good idea.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
    identicon
    vmd, Feb 24th, 2006 @ 5:57am

    Re: pixelled paper

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
    identicon
    Haywood, Feb 24th, 2006 @ 6:52am

    Re: This should work for the short term

    I think it depends on a number of things; location, weight of the item, age of the shopper. I split my shopping, though it is heavily Internet biased, some things are best bought locally. If I can find a heavy item that I can go get locally, I will. Some things just have to be touched, so again if the local paper has an item of interest in the classifieds that would be my first try. I do browse the local classifieds on-line, so I guess it is still not helping them sell papers.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
    identicon
    The Other Mike, Feb 24th, 2006 @ 7:20am

    No Subject Given

    As has already been alluded to, it will drive viewership of the classifieds (adverts on web pages work much the same way as this idea) but not enough to keep the paper afloat indefinitely. Something has to change at the core of the newspaper business in order to compete with the internet effectively. Until that magic change is figured out, this is a nice idea (from a business perspective) that doesn't pee in too many people's Wheaties. I mean we are simply talking changing the appearance of the paper not the actual content.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
    identicon
    Riyzo, Feb 24th, 2006 @ 7:22am

    Re: pixelled paper

    Philips is making it. It's supposed to be in magazines 2006/2007, in color no less, here.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
    identicon
    AesopFable, Feb 24th, 2006 @ 7:28am

    Re: deck chairs

    I, too, happen to live in Colorado. And, personally, I'd like to comment that you're full of shit and probably pissed off that CU Boulder doesn't take people that can't write in the english language worth a damn. I -think- that you might also be trying to insult the Boulder newspaper.... Not quite sure. If you are, just take a look at the Gazette (oh, sorry, the 'G') for a real 'pissant' newspaper.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12.  
    identicon
    Precision Blogger, Feb 24th, 2006 @ 7:51am

    There IS value in the classifieds.

    There IS value in the classifieds. I recently placed a classified personal ad in a local paper. The paper has differnet rates for different kinds of ads. Had I been selling a car, I would have paid almost 100 times as much for my ad. The paper knows the value of their classified space.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13.  
    identicon
    Don Gray, Feb 24th, 2006 @ 8:13am

    Re: deck chairs

    Two words:

    Ward Churchill

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14.  
    identicon
    ?, Feb 24th, 2006 @ 8:18am

    Re: deck chairs

    I was born and raised right out side of Boulder, CO, and I have to agree, completely, with the very first post.

    The smog in bolder isn't from cars like in many cities, instead it is the weed that polutes the air there.

    Interestingly enough, it is illeagle to smoke there (except for, uh, weed), and as far as I know, Boulder is the only city that I know of that has its own "smoking police" department.

    And one more thing, the Daily Camera, SUCKS! Probably because most of the writers and editors are out munching on Oreos and HoSos. Too bad they aren't thinking clearly, or they might come up with a better way to save their paper.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15.  
    identicon
    the unknown, Feb 24th, 2006 @ 8:18am

    Re: pixelled paper

    Thanks for the links.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16.  
    identicon
    gRm, Feb 24th, 2006 @ 8:28am

    Re: pixelled paper

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17.  
    identicon
    Boulder Transplant, Feb 24th, 2006 @ 8:50am

    Re: deck chairs

    wow. that is a really narrow minded, assinine comment. while i'd agree that there are a ton of hippies here, it's just silly to group all of boulder's residents into a derogatory statement like that. that's like saying "everyone that lives in san francisco is homosexual," or "only asian people run convinience stores," or a whole host of other stupid stereotypes. if you're going to criticize the majority of boulder's population, you should at least get your facts straight - they're all "yuppies" (rich ex-hippies).
    If you can't tell by now, I live in Boulder. For the record, I'm a young entreprenuer, I don't smoke pot, and I'm working my ass off here to make my mark on the world. So, before you belittle me because of where I live, call me a "pissant" and throw around your narrow minded stereotypes, I'd suggest that you get out of your cave and take a look at the world. Otherwise, shut your damn mouth.
    now, on the flipside, i don't think that the article ever compares a local newspaper to a national heavyweight like the NY times or the washington post... so your comment is completely retarded and unneeded.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18.  
    identicon
    KiwiFireball, Feb 24th, 2006 @ 8:54am

    Dead Newspapers

    The Newspaper industry is Dying. Sell the presses and buy servers. Get into internet news as fast as you can.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19.  
    identicon
    ?, Feb 24th, 2006 @ 9:04am

    Re: deck chairs

    Straight people live in San Francisco?

    Only asian people run convinience stores?

    I'm starting to think that parallel universes do exist. In my world, Indians run convinience stores, and people living in San Francisco are all homosexual.

    This is fun!

    Also in my world, presidents of nations are allowed to get blow jobs from interns (in the presidential office, while on the "clock"), while presidents of companies are fired for the same thing!

    What about in your Aisian convinience store universe?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 24th, 2006 @ 9:12am

    Re: deck chairs

    Let me guess- you got your ass kicked in Boulder once. Or twice.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21.  
    identicon
    BAC 16115, Feb 24th, 2006 @ 9:16am

    Re: deck chairs

    On Earth two you do actually make your mark on the world.

    On Earth two there is such thing as an ex-hippie.

    On Earth two there are straight people in San Fran

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 24th, 2006 @ 9:24am

    Re: deck chairs

    if he didn't get his ass kicked in boulder before, i'm betting it might happen upon his next visit. i heard there's nothing but ass-kicking hippies that live there. they really take ass-kicking to a whole new level up there in hippieville.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  23.  
    icon
    ConceptJunkie (profile), Feb 24th, 2006 @ 9:41am

    Re: deck chairs

    Boulder, CO is nothing but aging pot smoking hippies, they wouldnt know real news if it landed in their lap

    But Mork from Ork and Exidor live in Boulder! Oh, wait. You're right.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  24.  
    identicon
    emichan, Feb 24th, 2006 @ 4:24pm

    Re: deck chairs

    Straight people live in San Francisco?


    what're you talking about? he said everyone who lives in san fransisco is HOMOsexual not HETEROsexual....



    ps- this is stupid....

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  25.  
    identicon
    ?, Feb 24th, 2006 @ 9:53pm

    Re: deck chairs

    You are right this is stupid. But it is Friday, can't we have at least one day each week where we can be stupid?

    And I wasn't refering to the post that you think I was referring to.

    :)

    Have a great weekend everybody!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  26.  
    identicon
    alternatives, Feb 25th, 2006 @ 3:50am

    Why *I* don't bother with the classifieds

    1) I have to BUY a paper to look at 'em.

    2) When I have looked, it is mostly car ads for cars being sold by local car dealers.

    VS ebay/Craigslist/Kangeroo

    1) I don't have to pay to see 'em.

    2) If they are car ads, I didn't pay to see what didn't matter to me.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  27.  
    identicon
    disorderboy, Feb 26th, 2006 @ 3:54am

    No Subject Given

    The Chicago Reader (a free weekly in . . . um, Chicago), has been keeping the comics, weird news and Dan Savage in the classifieds section (which is quite large and well-regarded) for some time now.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  28.  
    identicon
    Johny Ringo, Mar 9th, 2006 @ 11:02am

    Re: deck chairs

    I love big butts, I just cant help myself, I know alot of ppl out there will disagree with me, But I just love them. For me I just gotta have them

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  29.  
    identicon
    apache, Mar 22nd, 2006 @ 8:41am

    Re: deck chairs

    I don't know from where it is tou come from, probably some east coast place, because you sound like someone who is ignorant. What does the Boulder Weekly have to do with major newspapers. We are not trying to say we have the best news, it is just simply a small paper to educate people in whats happening in Boulder. And as far as your stupid comment about Boulder and our "Aging pot smoking hippies" have you actually drove around Boulder went to whole foods, walked pearl street, drove down broadway? There are cell phones and expensive cars every where and stuck up college students and the homeless are treated like shit from people that have mexicans to wipe their asses when they shit. Don't worry, they are cleaning up the town so people like you don't have to worry that you might get robbed or possibly have to give a hand out when someone is hungry. Maybe if you would like to see better news, why don't you submit an article in the paper about how we as a nation can change all of us for the better instead of worrying about the aging pot smoking hippies, this is the last of our worries. Trust me, the people that you are refering to have made history in this town. If you want the truth ask an aging pot smoknig hippie or the children of these people who hold names like Freedom .

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  30.  
    identicon
    your momma, Mar 22nd, 2007 @ 8:10am

    hmm...

    what are we talking about everyone loves the digital world

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  31.  
    icon
    Falindraun (profile), Sep 22nd, 2009 @ 6:24am

    I guess thats why they call it 'The Peoples Republic of Boulder'.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Save me a cookie
  • Note: A CRLF will be replaced by a break tag (<br>), all other allowable HTML will remain intact
  • Allowed HTML Tags: <b> <i> <a> <em> <br> <strong> <blockquote> <hr> <tt>
Follow Techdirt
A word from our sponsors...
Essential Reading
Techdirt Reading List
Techdirt Insider Chat
A word from our sponsors...
Recent Stories
A word from our sponsors...

Close

Email This