Out of the top 25 newspaper in circulation, the latest numbers show only two (NY Post and Daily News) had a circulation increase. All the rest were down, with the L.A. Times taking the worst hit, down 8%.
This was before the new “right wing hatchet man” took over at the L.A. Times and, among other things, turned the front page into a mish mosh of multiple fonts in conflicting sizes. It is now demonstrably less readable than before, violates any number of design guidelines, and is no doubt a portent of things to come. More than a few long time Times staffers are polishing up their resume as the hatchet man replaced the former head who was fired for refusing to do major blood-letting. Mr. Hatchet, in addition to having a demented sense of design, will no doubt veer the paper sharply to the Right and this long-time subscriber isn’t staying around to watch it happen.
But the problems facing newspapers are bigger than that. It’s that Internet thing. Newspapers, for the most part, either don’t get it or don’t want to get it. I don’t really need a newspaper plopped on the doorstep in the morning to alert me to what’s happening, because the news I read on the Net before going to bed will be fresher than what the newspaper tells me in the morning. That is the crux of their problem. By the time they get the paper to me, the news is older than what’s on the web.
PS Perusing the L.A. Times this morning, the front page content is becoming fluffier while the political content is tilting rightward. For example, a story on books by former White House staffers has a headline saying the authors want revenge and are tattletales. How very FoxNews of the L.A. Times to say that.