After a decade of giving away their product for free online, and losing their shirts, newspapers are finally thinking about print again, in ways big and small. I note that in today’s L.A. Times, the TV grid is back, just two weeks or so after it was hacked. (Obviously, print readers spoke up. The Times had told them to look up the TV listings online.)
My own paper, the Orange County Register, is once again investing big in print (while not forgetting digital; a paywall will go up online shortly). We’ve hired something like 90 reporters since our new owner took over in July, and increased pages by about 50 percent. (One of the new hires that I’m most excited about, film critic Michael Sragow, starts this week. Michael Sragow!)
Print is for old people, you say. Not so fast. The Register is at least thinking about young readers in some of its new innovations in print. Our vigorous coverage of high school sports with OC Varsity is paying big dividends from what I understand.
Today marks the launch of another new section — OC Varsity Arts — which I think may be unique in the country. Designed for print (though at least some of it is available online for free, for now), it is meant to cover the world of high school arts in Orange County in much the same way that OC Varsity covers high school sports. It’ll be published every Sunday, and include eight pages or more of arts coverage. New staff has been hired to work on it.
There’s been a lot of interest in it so far. I wasn’t so sure about the section at first, but after seeing OC Varsity Arts take shape over these last few months, I’m thinking it’s a pretty good idea.
Click here if you’d like to peruse, but you really should pick up a copy of today’s paper to see it … in print.
photo: Manzanar, by Ansel Adams; Library of Congress