Friday, February 26, 2010

Flash! People read newspapers!

Sometimes complaints are good. They assure you that you are still alive.

Example: On Feb. 25, 2010 the Winnipeg Free Press annoyed a host of readers by printing a large front-page picture of the Canadian men's Olympic hockey team winning a quarter-final victory over the Russians.

What about the Canuck women who won four medals the same day, including local fave Clara Hughes?

Small pictures on the front. Turn inside the paper to see and read more.

"Readers were furious, and rightly so," Margo Goodhand, the paper's editor, acknowledged in a column the next morning.

"I am not a male chauvinist, and neither is the rest of the Free Press news team."

The paper's editors assumed that readers would be more interested in men's hockey than in actual medals. Wrong, Goodhand admits.

(Even more wrong now that our hockey women have kicked Yankee butt and won the gold medal.)

Bottom line for newspapers: the dead-trees edition may be losing audience, but big stories still attract readers. The Free Press needs to keep killing trees even as some of its reporters make forays into news coverage on social media such as Twitter.

As Melanie Lee Lockhart, my instructor colleague at Red River College, has commented, mainstream media ain't dead yet.

Take that, Twitter.