The articles on declining newspaper circulation among young people neglected one important point: advertising. The volume and size of advertising in the typical American newspaper detracts from its appeal in at least two important ways. It’s responsible for the sheer, physical cumbersomeness of the medium, and it makes it difficult to take the news content seriously, not when the articles are spread out over the tops of 3, or 4, or 5 pages.
If newspapers seriously want to enhance their appeal, to young and old readers alike, they should adopt a tabloid-size format and confine advertising to its own separate sections. The paper may have to accept less in fees for “segregated” advertising, but if circulation keeps falling, that’s going to happen anyway. Sooner or later newspaper publishers are going to have to decide whether they’re purveyors of news or merely conduits for retail advertising.