Media Magazine

The Return of Those Evening Newspaper Editions

Posted on the 18 November 2011 by Themarioblog @garciainteract


Resurrection is the word many are using to describe the reappearance of the long time evening daily, Pittsburgh Press, now back as an online newspaper. Will others follow?  AND: Weekend reads.

It’s nighttime and the reading is easy

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So it is all about the “lean back” approach and reading newspapers in the evening.

Why am I not surprised?

Perhaps because I cut my teeth in that one favorite Miami evening newspaper, the bold, brassy and irreverent, The Miami News, which, like many other American afternoon newspapers, succumbed to changing reading habits of Americans.  But, what a fun newspaper the Miami News was. LIke many of those now mostly gone newspapers that  appeared at the end of the day, the News had its following of people who wanted very local news, presented in bold, big headlines, with an array of favorite columnists who knew their city well, and expressed their pride for it.  In addition, there was the Pulitzer winning cartoonist, Don Wright, along with bylines by reporters the likes of which you don’t find often today, except if you watch Hollywood movies of the past.

I remember many of them. I revered them. As a 20-year-old intern, I was in awe of their passion for our craft—which was contagious. I most remember the man who hired me and who mentored me, Howard Kleinberg, and with whom I still stay in touch often through emails.

Howard wrote to me about this subject, 

I suppose the return of evening newspapers, through a rechargable battery, will be better than nothing. But old fashioned as I am, I still would miss the reader complaints that the only thing my newspaper is good for is to line the bottom of the bird cage. (With an iPad?)

So, is it only a matter of timing that some evening newspapers are announcing a comeback?

Could it be because, as we have seen with the amazing iPad—a gadget that we could not even conceive back in 1967 when I did my first internship with the News—is bringing back the idea of leaning back, taking off your shoes and reading while you watch TV?

Is it possible that in this most ironic of twists, it is the ultimate digital platform that revives one of the most revered journalistic traditions of yore?

Just this week, the Pittsburgh Press has made a comeback. The evening newspaper that was bought and closed by the the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, following a strike, isback as an e-paper

This prompted my always quick-with-a-comeback friend, Ron Reason, to write me an email: Could the Evening Independent (St. Petersburg, Fla.)—a newspaper I redesigned many evenings ago—be far behind?

And, with typical Ron Reason humor, he adds—remembering the Indy’s motto: free newspaper if there is a day without sunshine—”will they now give you a free iPad if the sun does not come out?”.

Probably not, Ron. But, who knows? Maybe we will see other resurrections of long gone evening newspapers.

Tip: For any publishers trying to revive a daily evening newspaper——make it ONEsection, easy to consume, a fun read that emphasizes what happens at night, with advertising integrated in such a way that it ties to stories in the paper;  extend the legs of stories by providing video/audio/pop ups in the tablet edition, go heavy with columns, first person accounts and very local fare.  

Suddenly, I am nostalgic for my Miami News days, the rush to get those stories in before the 11 a.m. deadline for first edition, or 2 p.m. for HOME edition. The Miami News had the right formula, and it succeeded with it for many years.  Then Miami changed, people’s evening habits did too. Television became the iPad of the time.  Lean back meant sitting down to watch the Jackie Gleason Show (a Miami-based one, by the way).

One by one, evening newspapers became part of newspaper’s nechrology.

But, at last, evening reading is back, and so may be some of these legendary titles.  If the Pittsburgh Press, founded in 1884, can make a comeback in 2011, that ‘s reason to celebrate. May others follow in its lead!

More about the Pittsburgh Press online:

-A new e-initiative from the PG

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-The Tablet Revolution–A PEJ Infographic

If you only have time to read one of these items, let it be this one. A most complete and easy to read infographic with highlights from the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism report The Tablet Revolution and the Future of News.

Two Highlights: 
1. While 53% of those surveyed get news on their tablet daily, 14% have paid directly for news on the tablet.
2. 88% read long articles that they had not intended to read; 41% went back to read articles they had saved, or tagged them to read later.

-Bob Newman, Claus Enevoldsen, and Mike Schmidt on “Designing the Magazine & Issue-Based Tablet Experience

- Online Publishing: Know Your Metrics, Know Your Audience—Know-Your-Metrics—Know-Your-Audience
- Publishers are solving the print-digital advertising disconnection – but is it too late?
-And here is for an interesting way to view and interact with video:

- Changing culture not an assault on newsrooms, but the entire newspaper template
- ‘Online news’ 20 years from now

-Where’s that plane overhead going? Wolfram Alpha knows

Finally, someone answers the perennial question we have when see that jet flying overhead!

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