“If you want to know how people spent so little time with the paper, don’t look at WSJ, NYT, WaPo, look at the thin daily gruel served in Miami, Atlanta, Las Vegas, San Franciso, Hartford, Philadelphia, Kansas City, New Haven, Jacksonville, Indianapolis and then on to small metro areas. It’s hard to even find 39 minutes worth of material in them unless you do the crosswords and sudoku. In fact, it’s quite silly to apply that time limit to someone trying to read the three densest papers.

“Ahh if only I had that sort of time to read that many papers. I’m a high school student in the Baltimore region and I’m absolutely enamored newspapers, for many the same reasons as the author. Since the Sun has been no good for about the past 10 years, I get the Post delivered. Unfortunately I dont get to read much of anything until after school. And then when homework and other extracurriculars are added, I sometimes find myself not finishing the paper until late at night, by the time the next day’s edition is already being printed. Time is the enemy of newspapers, but even so, I think most anyone could fit at least one quality paper into their day, every day if they make a conscious effort to inform themselves.”

Jonathan

“But I really like Jill’s condemnation of the overbroad nut graf and editor-driven stories. It’s a shame she wised up too late.”

OtherDan

“I find it useful to assess this issue in economic terms: The opportunity cost (in time) of consuming irrelevant information is rising.

“That is to say, every 39 minutes I spend reading information that’s lightly relevant, like the NYT’s too-thin trend stories, is 39 minutes I didn’t spend reading highly relevant information from a niche outlet like Blazer’s Edge or CJR.

“The implication: it’s not that modern readers are “distracted” from what matters or that life has somehow hurried up. It’s not that newspapers have gotten crappier. It’s that, given the proliferation of new niche content sources, lightly relevant content newspapers’ simply doesn’t make a lot of sense to consume.

“I also agree with Drew’s conclusion: catering to core loyalists is the only way to sustainability.

“More thoughts on this here:

http://www.oldforestnewtrees.com/2009/07/31/relevance-is-mandatory-so-pick-a-niche/”

Michael Andersen

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Kimberly Chou is a writer in New York.