Wednesday, September 07, 2005

The Prince Rupert newspaper wars, again

Swank Home

Andrew’s Home

I need to touch on this subject again, as there's been some development in the ongoing saga.
This week the two main opposing free "newspapers" released new issues. The Northwest Compass (NC), a tabloid-sized monthly magazine owned by the NWW, put out it's second issue, September.
Look Inside (LI), the oddly named weekly newspaper owned by former NWW employees, put out it's first issue on August 31.
There are some striking similarities between them.
They're both the same size, same ad specs, same over-use of colour.
On the back page of both papers is a large ad for the local Chrysler dealership, something both seem to have adopted from the NWW days.
And both are available online, in the format - as newspaper pages which have been converted to large JPG images.
But really, looking inside, they are hugely different. NC is mostly all content, while LI is stuffed with ads.
In fact, NC is 20 pages and contains about 8.5 pages of advertising, from 17 advertisers.
LI is 16 pages and contains about 10.5 pages of advertising, from 48 advertisers.
That's not counting house ads, or ads by the paper promoting itself. Including those, NC is about 50% advertising, while LI is about 80%.
This leaves me with mixed feelings. I should love NC and loath LI for the content, or lack thereof. But I'm inclined to believe the reason NC is so lacking in ads is not because they want it that way, but because they couldn't get anybody else to buy ads. A real disliking developed for the NWW in its final days, as it spiraled out of control.
Look at the difference in sales. LI has nearly three times as many advertisers! They're the obvious winner in terms of support from the business community.
I was a bit worried, actually. If they hadn't done well on the first issue, they probably wouldn't survive. If they have a few more just like this one, then, all they'll have to do is increase the pages, add more content, and they'll have a strong, successful product, winning the hearts of both the advertisers and the readers.
Now, yet more thoughts about my current situation.
The more I think about it, being where I am is a far better place than Ryerson would have been. Rather than paying to learn to be a journalist, at a rate of at least $15k/year, I'm learning by being one, and I'm getting paid for it.
I was really looking forward to school for the social aspects though. The thought of being surrounded by large numbers of young, intelligent, like-minded people is very appealing.
Here though, with the circle of media friends I'm beginning to develop, I think I actually have that. To a lesser degree, but more than enough to satisfy me.
Of course, if I go this route, I'll have to stick it out for at least a year, maybe two, to make the experience look good on the resume. I can't see it lasting much longer than that though. I want to travel again, see more of the world and eventually live in a big city!

No comments: