The Detroit Free Press and the Detroit News (both owned by the same corporation) have announced another nail in the coffin of print journalism.
Home delivery will be available on Thursdays, Fridays and Sundays.
Subscribers will have access to an electronic “e-edition” seven days a
week as part of their subscription.
This “e-edition” allows
you to see an exact copy of the newspaper – including all the
advertising – on your computer. It can be printed and will include many
additional features, such as the ability to change print size and
search for specific content relevant to you. You can access these
editions for free by going to www.edetroitnews.com and www.digitalfreepress.com.
Thursdays, Fridays and Sundays, retail outlets and coin boxes will sell
the same editions that home delivery subscribers receive. The other
four days – Monday through Wednesday, and Saturday – we will produce
innovative, newly designed single-copy editions.
I’m not sure how valuable an “exact copy of the newspaper” will be to online readers (who prefer news, rather than a “newspaper”). The practice harkens back to a past that is rapidly fading, like the deliberate affectation of calling a bus as a “motor coach” or your great-aunt who calls a refrigerator an “electric icebox.”
The student paper which I advise regularly makes good use of its center spread, working on a large canvas that achieves emotional and rhetorical impact that a little square computer monitor can’t reach. But we could also work to tap the native power of the digital medium. (I can’t force the students to start podcasting campus news, but I can at least teach them the skills they’ll need as 21st-century journalists.