For the non-Detroiters in the audience, this is an El Camino: a half pickup, half coupe sold by Chevrolet for almost 30 years. By committing to neither role, it’s mediocre at both.
el camino_MG_0852 by John Leverett
Something for everyone
The newspaper is the El Camino of the media world.
A newspaper is part national news, part local news, part sports, part coupons/comics/love advice/cooking tips/celebrity smut, topped off with a stack of ads, classifieds, and home listings. It’s got something for everybody, but no part is as good as it could be if it were the sole pursuit of the paper.
Cable and the web are focused: they’re highways for specialized media vehicles. Craigslist is way better at classifieds than the paper. And how can the food section compete with the Food Network, Yelp, and LTH Forum? Ditto for sports and the rest – the generalist newspaper has been outpaced by expert media.
El Camino, by Linda Rae
Printcast my ride
But the thing is, El Caminos have a passionate group of fans, especially in the custom-car niche. They love that kooky-looking ride. What if newspapers used printcasting to harness a similar passion?
Instead of making a paper for a city, make a paper for a neighborhood. Print a local, focused paper, with ads and the rest directed at a very tight group. You’d still be printing an El Camino, but for a niche.
El Camino 1960, by John Lloyd
Always crashing in the same car
A metropolitan daily kindles as much passion as a beige Toyota Camry, a car designed to appeal to the widest possible audience. It’s no wonder that the metro-area audience is dispassionate and dwindling. Who wants a gray bundle when it delivers so little satisfaction?
Instead, print out a mess of papers, one for each audience: rearview dice and retirement advice in one, hydraulics and nightclub pics in another. Pimp it out, and maybe you’ll get some folks to pick up the paper again.