Their Target Audiences

Burning NewspaperThere’s a fair amount of discussion lately about how the internet has supplanted printed media as a news medium and how this is affecting newspapers across America.

There’s also been discussion about these newspapers moving to “paywall models” for their digital content. Whether or not such schemes will allow any individual newspaper to survive is, I believe, more upon who their target audience is than upon any other factor or or factors.

So who reads which newspapers?

  1. The Wall Street Journal is read by the people who run the country.
  2. The Washington Post is read by people who think they run the country.
  3. The New York Times is read by people who think they should run the country, and who are very good at crossword puzzles.
  4. USA Today is read by people who think they ought to run the country but don’t really understand The New York Times. They do, however, like their statistics shown in pie charts.
  5. The Boston Globe is read by people whose parents used to run the country and did a poor job of it, thank you very much.
  6. The New York Daily News is read by people who aren’t too sure who’s running the country and don’t really care as long as they can get a seat on the train.
  7. The New York Post is read by people who don’t care who is running the country as long as they do something really scandalous, preferably while intoxicated.
  8. The Miami Herald is read by people who are running another country, but need the baseball scores.
  9. The National Enquirer is read by people trapped in line at the grocery store.
  10. The Seattle Times is read by people who have recently caught a fish and need something to wrap it in.
  11. The Los Angeles Times is read by people who wouldn’t mind running the country, if they could find the time from indoor tanning, teeth whitening, and botox – and if they didn’t have to leave Southern California to do it.
  12. The San Francisco Chronicle is read by people who aren’t sure if there is a country or that anyone is running it; but if so, they oppose all that they stand for. There are occasional exceptions if the leaders are handicapped people-of-color feminist gay/lesbian/bisexual/transgender atheist dwarfs who also happen to be illegal aliens from any other country or galaxy — provided of course, that they are not Republicans.

NOTE: Variants of this list / joke have been circulating since at least 2005 but this version came from Fellowship of the Minds.

So which group, if any, do you think will find paying for a digital subscription to their newspaper to be of value? The movers and shakers,the would-be movers and shakers, the Frustrati, or the prurient masses seeking enjoyment through Schadenfreude?

Personally I think the newspaper, such as it is, with by far the best chance of having a salable digital market is The National Enquirer. It has a large consumer base, none of which want to be seen purchasing it! 😉

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8 Responses to “Their Target Audiences”

  1. beyondanomie Says:

    Came to your blog after your comment on mine. Interesting blog you have here.

    You may know this already, but the funny list of who reads which US paper is almost certainly inspired by a gag in the (excellent) 80s British sitcom Yes Prime Minister, based on the British newspapers. A series well worth watching, even for those not familiar with British politics, as some things are universal to all bureaucratic representative democracies… 😉

    Relevant clip here:

  2. jonolan Says:

    That explains why the list got my attention in the first place. Thanks!

    I loved Yes, Minister and it’s sequel Yes, Prime Minister but hadn’t been able to see them in years and years.

  3. BadVooDooDaddy Says:

    Excellent post. I agree with the list. I find it sad that there are so few paper newspapers anymore. It has always been a very tactile experience for me. I have always love the smell of the ink on paper and being able to hide behind the paper, read and make most of the world go away if just for a moment.

  4. jonolan Says:

    I’m glad you liked it, Bad VooDooDaddy.

    I never really cared for scent of newsprint, so I’m happier with hiding behind my eReader.

  5. Freedom, by the way Says:

    Great, entertaining post! I have always gotten the Sunday paper–out of habit. Last Sunday I didn’t even go to the box at the end of the driveway to get it! I’m of the opinion that most daily newspapers could do away with their front/news sections. It’s usually “old” news by the time you read. I do believe small town newspapers will survive–where else can Johnny’s baseball picture and Susie’s addition to the Honor Roll have much impact? But big dailies–they will die out as the last non-internet generation dies out.

  6. jonolan Says:

    Pretty much. I may post later and more seriously about why those national dailies failed and why many local papers may as well.

  7. Paradigm Says:

    It will be tricky in the future for residents of Seattle. How do you wrap a reading pad around a fish?

  8. jonolan Says:

    Yep. It might make the eco-fascists happy though, if it results in a collapse of Pacific Northwest’s fishing industry. 😆

    Of course, most of those eco-Fascists are too busy reading the LA Times, NY Times, and Pravda to, in all likelihood, even notice.

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