Journalistic Excellence: 8 = 6?
Newspaper readership is shrinking. Arguments could be made for what is causing the problem: free information on the Net, competition from TV, young people don’t read anymore, etc.
But let me add another factor: quality of service. A newspaper should provide needed information on a consistent basis. The daily Plattsburgh newspaper runs an entertainment and arts listing every Thursday called 8 Days A Week. Yesterday a familiar gray box appeared at the end of the listing:
This notice is familiar because it seems to run on a bi-weekly basis. What is the purpose of calling a service 8 Days A Week when you only run six days worth of listings? After all, how often have you seen or heard a five-day weather forecast that only provided information for three days?
The 8 Days listing is included in Out & About, the weekly entertainment and arts magazine of the Press-Republican. This section usually runs to eight pages; there should be enough room to run 8 Days in its entirety. It would mean making some photos a bit smaller, rearranging the layout, but it could be done. It involves a process called editing.
Also, space could be freed up by eliminating outdated or invalid information. 8 Days kept listing an arts organization at a particular location after it had moved. And it kept listing the same organization after it had ceased to exist. The dead listing was included for over a year. Once again, the process called editing could have avoided the promulgation of misinformation and the waste of space.
Most journalism schools will attest that there’s a connection between editing and the quality of service.
How about some editing, Press-Republican?