Even though our copy of the Greenville News was drenched by a downpour this Saturday morning, my commitment to reading the paper did not wane. As I stood in my garage methodically drying wet newsprint with a discarded hair dryer, several things occurred to me:
- Content is king. As I dried the paper, I crumpled 2-page spreads of ads for Kias, rooms of furniture and sporting equipment. Why waste my time? I even cut stories from ad-dominated pages so I didn’t have to dry the whole thing. The ads are all in my garage – still wet.
- Newsprint doesn’t bleed when wet. The drying process left less ink on my hands than a typical day of reading. Perhaps this is foreshadowing of the indelible nature of the journalistic process. Or maybe its just a sign of high quality ink.
- Layout hasn’t significantly changed in years. Would a newspaper layout be better served with a web-type-look: more available content up front so that readers could choose how to move through the paper? Or could we get annoyed by the constant flipping? A magazine-style approach might work, but good stories could get lost in the middle.
- Whereas they are better read from outside in, newspapers dry better from the inside out. As the water bled from the paper, I saw connections between the newspaper’s format and digital print. Reading a story that jumps across pages is similar to a click through online. I found myself wondering why I still take a daily rather than using my iPhone to deliver my news.
I hate to say it, but my newspaper may have transitioned this subscriber from paper to digital simply by not utilizing the convenient newspaper slot on my mailbox on a rainy day.