Tom Spurgeon's Web site of comics news, reviews, interviews and commentary

November 4, 2011

A Pair Of Random Notes About Newspapers

* James Langdell wrote in to report that the San Jose Mercury News has tweaked its comics offerings. He says that as best he can tell, despite the lack of an official announcement as to what was leaving and what was moving in, Bliss, Dennis The Menace, Get Fuzzy, Monty and Rudy Park were dropped; Bizarro, Cul De Sac and Reply All were moved in. The paper's bridge column was also moved into the comics section, and the order of the strips on the page were scrambled. The Mercury-News is I believe still a top ten national paper, with a healthy six-figure circulation. It also has long had a reputation as an active and valuable paper for strip comics circulation. I'm particularly glad, of course, for Cul De Sac to see the benefits of being added there. As I've stated before, that's the kind of strip that needs some time to settle in with readers, and it being added at some years into its run rather than in a more mercenary "let's try the new feature" way indicates it will get that chance.

* not comics: an article on newspaper circulation talking about the various New York papers has the Times bragging about circulation and subscription increases due to its controversial limited-Internet access strategy. "Times executives have said that the pay system has helped boost traditional circulation since print subscriptions come with unlimited digital access as a bonus. In a press release this morning, they announced that print home-delivery circulation had increased for the first time in five years." I'm not sure exactly what that means in the long run or in terms of what the Times has done being something any other paper could do. In addition, the Times is one of North America's traditional non-employers of strip comics. But it's intriguing to note when any new strategy involving the Internet and print circulation has enough of a positive effect that a paper can at least spin it that way.
posted 3:15 am PST | Permalink

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