Like Brown, March does not expect readers to attempt to devour the daily coverage. He too believes that folks will simply pick what interests them.
Outside of the Tampa Bay area, most Florida papers came down somewhere between the Sun Sentinel’s approach and that of the Times and Tribune. The Miami Herald had one story, an AP account, on its front page. The News-Press of Fort Myers and the Orlando Sentinel each had two. None appeared to have anywhere near the space devoted to coverage that Tampa area papers did.
Certainly, no one with any sense of a newspaper’s obligations to its readers can agree with the Sun Sentinel’s decision to ignore the convention on its front page. Florida is playing a key role in electing the next president, and even considering the fact that conventions are more akin to political rituals than “news” events, it is simply inept to treat the convention as a non-story. Even online, the Sun Sentinel offers little convention coverage—I had to scroll far down the home page Wednesday night to find the first article on national politics (a slideshow featuring “Republican beauties” appeared higher on the page).
Meanwhile, there are two ways to look at what the Times and Tribune are doing—you can consider the effort to be an excessive waste of resources that does little to genuinely serve readers, or you can applaud a mighty effort that both newspapers are executing well despite difficult times for the newspaper industry.
Ultimately, I side with the latter view, but with this pause: unless the financial outlook for newspapers improves dramatically before the 2016 conventions, all of this activity could be a little like the band playing on the Titanic. And that would be a shame.