Saturday, December 04, 2004
DingDingDingDingDing: I've been keeping a close eye over at Poynter.org to see what fallout, if any, there is from Union-Tribune columnist James Goldsborough's decision to call it quits.
While going through the letters, I came across one from Dan Walsh and immediately thought: Correct! He's got it!
Re -- Young readers of op-ed pages. Memo to daily newspaper editors/execs who want younger readers:
Try younger columnists. The pay-your-dues-for-20-years method of creating newspaper columnists often produces old cynics writing the same old crap. If the face of your newspaper looks old and out of touch, so does your newspaper.
Young whippersnappers read alt-weeklies because the writers understand them. Most daily columnists don't have young people's issues on the radar. They're more concerned with things like Medicare.
"Do we have to talk about nothing but sex, drugs and movies?" the Inquirer's op-ed page editor asks, according to the Philly City Paper. "Do we have to cuss? Seriously, what should we be thinking about?"
Start with respecting your potential readers. We're more than just drugged-out, oversexed, pop-culture junkies.
Then give a proven young writer a column. We’re out here, really. I won my first column-writing award two years ago at age 25, doing columns on the side for a mid-sized daily. Find me a daily editor who'll hire a 20-something columnist full-time, and I'll show you a newspaper that will grow its young audience.
Exactly! But, speaking from experience, I don't see that changing anytime soon. I haven't seen a newsroom that's quite that open-minded, and as far as willing to take chances (with younger employees or otherwise) that's also an anathema to many newspaper companies.