May 26, 2011 0
Ever since the Chicago Reader recently redesigned, I’ve been trying to figure out what exactly an alternative newspaper is. All I’ve been able to come up with is a division of the audience into two vague sections, figuring the audience for the alternative press are intellectual risk takers. I’m not entirely sure what that means, but I tried to get at it in a recent e-mail to a colleague.
The following are my early thoughts on how to edit for intellectual risk takers:
I think you can break the audience down into two segments: The invested and the dis-invested. I mean that kind of literally. Papers like the Chicago Tribune (and nearly every other publication) cater to the invested, readers who have a vested interest in long-term stability. So, if I had kids, I’d care about schools. If I had a house, I’d care about property values and all the things that drive them up and down. If I had a 401K or a pension, I’d care about all the various things that cause tremors in the market. And I would be strongly biased towards low-risk proposals to change any of those.