I love me some David Boardman. After leaving the Seattle Times as their executive editor a year ago, which I eulogized over here, Boardman is now the president of the American Society of News Editors and chairman of the Poynter Institute’s National Advisory Board.
Now that he's no longer relying on a check from the Seattle Times, Boardman also has a message for his former daily paper and others like it: start publishing just once a week:
I say to publishers: Invest in a superb, in-depth, last-all-week Sunday (or better yet, Saturday) paper, a publication so big and rich and engaging that readers will devour it piece by piece over many days, and pay a good price for that pleasure. Get together with each other and consolidate your printing operations, creating one independent print-and-deliver contractor in each geographic region who can shed the outdated and outsized costs of your legacy operations...
Move deliberately to one weekly, “lean back” printed paper and an array of quality, interactive, “lean in” digital products, especially for mobile devices, to which your readers are moving far faster than you are.
Use that money you’re spending now on newsprint, ink, pressmen, trucks, drivers and gasoline and hire more reporters, photographers, videographers, data journalists, software developers, mobile designers, social-media experts, workflow architects, marketing strategists and digital advertising pros.
Who the fucking fuck are we to argue!?!! Thanks to a combination of established print formula and blogging forethought, that's the publishing model The Stranger set about eight years ago: Throw your resources into print and heavily online. Break news and write quick analysis on the website (while swearing!), then formulate longer, more detailed pieces that connect the dots in a weekly print edition. But I can be admittedly terrible at doing both: I didn't "lean in" to this online-only post, based on Boardman's article published last week. I've been meaning to toss this up on Slog since it was posted, but got busy "leaning back" working on stuff for print. And that's where bigger news outlets can prevail over scrappy alt weeklies: They've got dozens or hundreds of reporters to break the news and write the bigger pieces, while alt-weeklies have a fraction of the staff (and keep swearing!).