Q: Could the U-T become a sports and entertainment publication?

A: Reader Dale Peterson mentions this idea in the comments. I haven’t heard anyone mention this strategy in particular, but newspaper observers — a catch-all term for bloggers and consultants — have been thinking about whether newspapers could become more niche-oriented.

At the moment, daily newspapers like the U-T are still trying to provide a little something for everyone — news, business, sports, features, comics, entertainment and on and on.

But they have much less space to be all things to all people. And their wish to avoid rocking the world of conservative readers — through, say, edgy comic strips — can alienate younger readers.

Former newspaper executive Alan Mutter suggests that papers could bring life to their skinny Monday papers by highlighting sports coverage.

“Just turn it into a sports-oriented paper, a tabloid with sports on the front and some regular news elsewhere in the paper,” he said.

Mutter acknowledges that this approach would work best in a city with year-round major sports teams. On the other hand, San Diego only goes a few months each year without baseball or football.

One more point: Peterson wonders, “Who would miss multiple pages of obituaries?”

The answer is: plenty of people.

Journalists at dead-tree newspapers like to think readers are deeply concerned about news and public affairs. But many newspaper readers, especially the older ones, are deeply devoted to other things, like crosswords, comics, horoscopes and advice columns. And some like to wake up each morning and make sure no one has scheduled their funeral.


Leave a comment

We expect all commenters to be constructive and civil. We reserve the right to delete comments without explanation. You are welcome to flag comments to us. You are welcome to submit an opinion piece for our editors to review.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.