Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Papers Unclear on the Concept

Here in San Francisco, we have a free daily newspaper owned by an out-of-town right-wing publisher. It's the San Francisco Examiner, and I'm not sure the company that produces it is clear on how to distribute newspapers.

Consider: The Examiner is a tabloid-sized paper (it also occasionally has tabloid-style editorial leanings, but it lacks the courage of its convictions, so it never rise -- or sinks -- to the level of the New York Post or New York Daily News). And yes, it's weird to have a conservative paper in one of the most famously left-wing cities in America. But that's arguably a good thing, because a city should have multiple voices. Now, it'd be good if people were able to access those voices.

A very thin tabloid is what it is: It's a commuter paper, read almost completely during a bus or subway ride to work. It's not a paper worth taking home and reading after dinner and sharing with the family; there's not enough content in it. So, if it was your paper, why would you hire people to hand out the free paper (it's bad enough that you have to shove a free paper into people's hands) at the downtown subway stops, and not at the subway stops where they get on the train? I have no use for the paper once I get out of the subway, but I might read it from time to time on my way in to work.

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