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
You are so correct in how you evaluate the recent developments in the OCR. It is a great paper and in many ways serves Orange County and the world much better than the LA Times, especially in its music critic.
Love it! What a great idea!
As you know, a son at OCSA, and a son at Mater Dei (in sports).
I’m constantly looking at OC varsity articles and will now be checking out the OC varsity arts. Tim, will you be contributing to it?
Pat, I contributed a little in the planning stage, and continue to forward info and suggest stories to the editor of OC Varsity Arts. But I’ll likely not contribute. The thinking is it’s best to have your critics write about the professional organizations here in O.C. and I think that’s for the best.
All of those recent changes you alluded to regarding The Orange County Register are heartily welcomed by this reader. I’ve basically grown up with the paper, having read it since the days when it was still known as “The Santa Ana Register”. My first elementary school (in Orange County, at least) was just around the corner from your offices.
Although I certainly devour my share of on-line articles like everyone else, when it comes to The Register, I always have preferred the print edition. I would still rather hold the newsprint in my hands and turn the pages. Maybe it’s just the way I grew up, or because of my major in college (Communications) or that my first couple of jobs were with newspapers. But reading actual newspapers became a life-long habit that is now and forever ingrained within me.
All of which (along with yet another upcoming birthday) apparently makes me one of those “old people” doing something many now consider ridiculously “old-fashioned.” Or to put in the more current and (irritatingly over-used ) vernacular, “old school”.
Is it me, or is just about everything more than 15 minutes old constantly (and derisively) referred to as “old school”?
In any event, it is so encouraging to see the depth and variety of stories re-emerge. To once again find its pages expanding and filled with more in-depth articles by writers with actually something to say, who say it well, is richly satisfying (the most exemplary of them being you, of course) . Long may you and The Register continue to prosper.
Thanks, Bob. One thing — these days “old school” is cool, and most writers who use the term, including this one, use it as a term of approbation.
Bravo to the O. C. Register! It is great to finally see this most appropriate section come to the light of day.
Jim Chute, then the music critic for the O. C. Register, and I had discussed why there wasn’t a weekly section for the high school arts since so many more students are engaged in the arts than are engaged in sports in High School. Not having robust newspaper coverage of O. C. high school arts programs that is on a par with high school sports has kept the community in the dark about the impact arts programs in the schools has on so many young lives. Could this be why arts programs are on the chopping block before almost anything else when school district budget problem arise?
I hope the new owners can find some advertising support from some of the corporations and merchants that support the professional arts organizations in the County to help keep this section alive.
The appropriateness of the print edition is very important. There is nothing like you and your kid seeing their picture in the printed paper!! It becomes a memento for the family archives, which is different than seeing a fleeting picture on the web. There is something about knowing that the local newspaper, which has so many options to choose from, has chosen to print your kids picture. I know from personal experience how much that means to the kid as well as the family.
What a GREAT idea! When I discovered this section in yesterday’s paper, I felt as if perhaps I’d arrived in an alien world over night. I hope we can ALL compliment, support, and thank the Register for their many new initiatives, but – most importantly – this newly found attention to the arts and arts education. Bravi to all!
Any good news about newspapers is welcome news. I might have to give the Register another chance. The Times is turning into a joke of its former self.
It’s about time. Bravo OC Reg!
could you _possibly_ add a caption to the picture? which I am rather sure is from the Japanese internment camp at Manzanar
It is. That’s Mount Williamson in the background.
I agree with Bo, I love the tactile feel of a newspaper, having the paper spread out on my desk when I read it. Although my paper of record is different from most here (it’s the LA Times), it’s been depressing to see the print edition shrink to this thin wisp of a paper, while the price has more than doubled in the last 3 years.
Also, the LAT website is a nightmare. It’s hard to find things, the search function is horrible and worst of all, they do that annoying thing of taking an article that would fit on half a page in the print edition and make you go through 7 pages online (i.e. 7 pages of annoying ads).
Now if only the LAT would get rid of Mark Swed…….