Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Sad Days

My beloved Isthmus, Madison's alt-weekly, is considering lay offs that are spreading across the newspaper industry, reports the Capital Times, who itself had to cut staff and quit printing paper editions of the daily.

This as advertisers prefer to go to lower cost venues instead of pumping money into a paper that not only uncovers police brutality and government corruption, but does it with personality. The great thing I like is that editors there don't pretend to be objective and rehash quotes/old story lines. In this way the paper addresses a more specific audience.

Much more valuable to advertisers than just a general info rag for the "average American."

I've been thinking for a long time that Isthmus should collect a minor subscription fee instead of being soley funded by ad dollars. Such a fee could be negligible, but still help fund substantive gaps.

For example, instead of being free, how about charging $0.05 per copy? A lot of readers would likely pay a nickel for Isthmus.

If Isthmus charged five cents with its current circulation of 61,000, that's $3050 extra each week. Enough to pay for more reporters (and freelancers). Even if circulation dropped to 45,000 due to the price, that's an extra $2,250...

...jeez I'm happy I joined the journalism industry...

Thedailypage/Isthmus will find a way to get its message out despite changes/a poor economy. If not just because it's a Madison institution.

14 comments:

-Deb- said...

Funny you should mention that... while reading the recent Isthmus editorials, I began to think about where I could get comprehensive local news without it. Not from TV news, certainly.

I'd gladly pay for the Isthmus, but I know I'm likely in the minority.

B. Broeren said...

Thanks for sharing. It would be an interesting experiment. But now I think of it, folks would likely just see the internets for free.

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