Introducing Union-Tribune bathroom tissue…

One year into its new ownership under LA billionaire Tom Gores and his Platinum Equity, The San Diego Union-Tribune preparing to roll out its new re-design Tuesday.

Publisher Ed Moss has promised to do more with less. He’s making good on the latter, although he has yet to deliver on the former.

The paper that lands on your doorstep tomorrow will be a “bit” narrower, according to Publisher Moss, who assures us it will also be “more efficient” — newspaper doublespeak for less wordy.

Newspapers are shrinking across the country to save on the costs of newsprint, which is what they call the actual paper that lines birdcages and can be shaped into funny hats. The print of U.S. newsprint is up to 14 percent this year. That’s still well below what Canadian mills need to make a profit.

How narrow will the U-T get?

The Union-Tribune currently measures about 12 inches, the same width of the Wall Street Journal and other big newspapers.

It’s likely to follow the LA Times,  and the North County Times which all shrank in February to 11 inches. Any smaller will invite mockery.

Unlike the LA Times, however, the Union-Tribune will be changing to a (presumably larger) typeface.

We all learned in grade school that shrinking margins and bigger writing is the way to make your paper seem longer than it actually is.

Consultants tell newspaper executives that readers don’t really care about the width of the page and some even like it. In the short run, that may be true. In the long run, it means there’s even less in the newspaper. Which means there’s more of a reason to look elsewhere for news.

But there’s … more. The U-T is promising more emphasis on graphics and photos, which will further crowd out all the refocused news and investigations they are promising us.

That’s the funny thing about doing more with less. The only thing you can do with less is less.

2 comments

  1. Dan Weisman

    What gets me is the utter hypocrisy of this move. They keep trumpeting it as doing a service to the readers. Really? Isn’t it all about saving money on printing costs? Shrinking the paper, making it out of toilet paper is a hack move, just like putting advetisements all over the front page. It’s funny because they have a regional monopoly with no competition and yet they’re doing everything they can to go out of business. If they’re not cooking circulation numbers, I’d like to see how far those drop in coming months.

    Like

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