Back in the day…

Hey kids – back before the googlesphere and twitternet, the news was delivered to you in the form of an afternoon or evening newspaper.  They looked like this:

The Evening Star survived in Washington, DC through 1981. (image: UN-Omaha)

After getting home late from an event one night this week, I had hoped to get caught up on the day’s news – without watching Extra (sorry, Slater) or the screaming heads of cable news.  And I wondered why newspaper brass have not again embraced the notion of shifting to an evening edition.  You’ll often hear the criticism of the morning’s paper being “yesterday’s news”, so why not publish today’s news today?

I presume one facet of the argument has to do with deadlines, as in, reporters write the day’s news and then editors work on laying out the paper and there’s no way they can get it on the printing press before 11 p.m.  But with newsrooms churning out stories during the day to satisfy the needs of online readers, the entire process has been accelerated.

Another argument, I imagine, is that newspapers enjoy their role of “setting the day’s agenda”.  I can respect trying to hold on to that tradition, but since that same paper will still be on the kitchen table at 7 a.m. AND you get to have it in your readers hands earlier, what’s the harm?  Will it have greater significance if readers think they have the latest news? Perhaps.

If you’re holding onto the next Watergate story, trying to show you’re in control of it, you’ll likely post it on your website around midnight anyhow.  So why not get it on doorsteps sooner?  This applies double for a major story that happened during the day. Show you’re on top of it since the story is already in the news ether.

With everything people do in the morning, I’m not sure why you would not want to give them a greater opportunity to read your product. Consider it a head start.  Heck, with drivel on prime time television, perhaps you’ll even gain a reader or two.


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