Newspapers: Then and Now

Since my recent return to the blogosphere, many of you have written in asking me about my new job and what I am doing all day.

Well, today, for example, I have been digesting various articles and reports so our sales people don’t have to. You know, sort of like those people who pre-chew food for the elderly.

Anyway, I came across something which I had to share. It’s from a PowerPoint presentation comparing newspapers and outdoor advertising.

In particular, the section contrasting the Minneapolis StarTribue of today to the one from 1997 — widely-regarded as golden age of print journalism.

Let’s begin, shall we?

Average number of teasers per day
Then: 5
Now: 9.2

Personally, I’m not sure what a teaser is.

Average amount of copy above the fold
Then: 9.2 paragraphs
Now: 5.8 paragraphs

Uh … that makes ’em easier to read, doesn’t it?

Number of headlines phrased as a question
Then: 2
Now: 15

Well, there have been tremendous advances in headline technology in the last decade. Besides, if you don’t like headlines phrased as a question, you can always read NUVO.

Total number of national news stories
Then: 17
Now: 6

So? The standard complaint is that there’s no good local or international journalism anymore.

Total number of shopping/consumer-related stories
Then: 1
Now: 10

As a reader, I’m inclined to agree that this is a bad thing. But this PowerPoint is aimed at advertisers, right? Well, they love that kind of thing!

Total references to dogs or children
Then: 0
Now: 11

‘Nuff said!

Total references to death or violence
Then: 5
Now: 10 (number related to the war in Iraq: 0)

I’m detecting a bit of liberal bias here …

Biggest story
Then: Mass suicide of 39 California cult members
Now: Dog attack in Minneapolis

I tried to warn the Minneapolis StarTribune that if they caused all the cult members to commit suicide they might not have anything to write about later!

Number of days a photo obscures newspaper’s name
Then: 0
Now: 4 out of 5

I don’t have anything funny to say about this one. Although, obviously, I haven’t let that stop me before.

Percentage of those photos that are dogs, babies, celebrities, or models

I think this lady is prejudiced against dogs and babies.

Number of photos featuring attractive young women
Then: 0
Now: 6

And the problem with this is … ?

Number of photos of dangerous men
Then: 2
Now: 2

So it’s a wash. But the real question is — would I qualify as a dangerous man? (It’s okay, you don’t need to answer.)

Uses of the word “you” or “your”
Then: 0
Now: 9

No comment.

Uses of the phrase “sexy and confident at Mystic Lake”
Then: 0
Now: 1 (in reference to singer Taylor Hicks)

OK, she is really reaching now.

Global Warming Index
Then: High Temp 55
Now: High Temp 75

Definitely liberal.

Then: 50 Cents
Now: 50 Cents

Wow, great closer! So let me get this straight … I get more dogs, babies and attractive young women for the same price? Thanks, Minneapolis StarTribune!