Quality reporting, design can make difference

I am trying to get my mind around something I have noticed about me and reading newspapers.

Whenever I visit my wife in Northern Virginia and I read her copy of the Washington Post, I find myself reading stories I know I would have passed over in my local paper, The Florida Times-Union. Why is that? The question has been bugging me since Christmas.

I think what is happening is that the Post has such an aura (of…what?) around it that it just automatically makes everything seem interesting. Although, I think it is not so much that I think what is in the Post is more interesting, but that I make the opposite assumption about the T-U.

The T-U does not have the same staff as the Post, my thinking goes, so the coverage and the story are not going to be as good. Or maybe it’s the headlines. I am going to really watch myself read this week to try to see if I can understand what’s going on.

I do think that, based on my initial observations, cutting staff and thereby cutting the quality of the product, is not the way to go. You can only cut so much before you not only make decision not to read, you make the decision not to buy.

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