Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Just Put Me in Charge Already

It's Wednesday, which means that readers across the country are turning to the food section of their local paper for recipes and restaurant reviews. Everywhere I've lived, the local paper, from the NY Times to the Washington Post, from the Easton Express to the Charlottesville Daily Progress, would run weekly sections as follows: none on Monday, health/science on Tuesday, food/dining Wednesday, house and garden Thursday, entertainment Friday, none on Saturday, and all of the above Sunday. Why?

I understand publishing these sections one per day in order to get people to buy the paper during the week, so I have no trouble with the underlying theory. Publishing an entertainment section on Friday makes perfect sense: that's the day movies open, so it's the day you'd want to run reviews, and it's the day when people are planning their weekends. It's the day entertainment advertising can be sold to pay for the section. But what makes Thursday home and garden day, Tuesday health day? I can't think of any reason, and my internet search was fruitless.

Grocery circulars and coupons used to be published on Wednesdays, so there was a time when a dining/food section on that day made sense. Circulars and coupons have migrated to Sunday, though, yet the Wednesday dining section persists. Because restaurants are running their ads Friday in the entertainment section and grocery stores on Sunday, the Wednesday dining section suffers from a lack of food-related advertising. Why does the tradition persist?

As far as I can tell no one knows the answer to this. I see it as one more reason the newspaper industry is suffering, another way publishers are clinging to an outdated approach to their business. I suspect the food and gardening sections were once aimed at "ladies," who cooked the meals and tended the rose bushes, and who had nothing better to do on a weekday morning than read the paper. The home sections really belong on Saturday, when people are thinking about home improvement and gardening projects. That's when food sections should also be run, when people are thinking about doing their grocery shopping for the week. Want to sell some papers on Wednesday? Run a gossip/tabloid section featuring Brittney's latest weight gain and breakdown. Want to sell some more on Thursday? Run a section reporting on and reviewing technology, electronics, games.

It's not rocket science.

1 comment:

tunsie said...

nobody reads anymore,they meet 4 alcohol infuse GOSSIP SESSIONS. they go 2 meetings galore then discuss them 2 the point of ad nauseum.GROW UP.......tunsie.tunsie.tunsie