Carson City’s daily paper, the Nevada Appeal, is going to start printing in a tabloid format every day beginning Wednesday. I’m always wary when I see any big announcement that involves the date April 1st, but I supposes April Fool’s Jokes are usually made on April Fools, not in advance. And they’re usually a little more outlandish.
The Appeal already prints a small tabloid edition, the “Nevada Appeal Today” that is given out for free in racks and contains nothing but wire stories. But now the paper itself is dropping the broadsheet format and going for a smaller size. The move is meant to save on paper and printing costs, and also gives them another opportunity to reorganize the front page and shuffle the sections of the paper around. The Appeal has been printed in tabloid before, from 1951 to 1961.
My opinions are all over the place on this. In this region there’s always been a distinction. The broadsheets are the big dailies for the community, the ones you pay for, like the Nevada Appeal, Record Courier, and Reno Gazette Journal. And the tabloids are the free weekly papers, like the Carson Times and the Reno News and Review. So there could be a perception backlash against the Appeal for doing this, with people associating it with “those” papers, and feeling like they’re not getting value for their money.
But at the same time, the newspaper industry needs to be shook up, and new ideas need to fall out of it. A move to tabloid isn’t a wildly radical idea, but it shows at least that they’re not completely adverse to changing. As time goes on the thought of getting a piece of paper on your doorstop every day with yesterday’s news written on it seems to get more and more silly, and declining revenues and subscription rates are reflecting that. And the Appeal isn’t going out of business like some papers, or going online-only like others that have had trouble. But if they’re willing to go to a tabloid format now, maybe next year there will be some other experiment they’ll be willing to try, and then another. Slowly the newspaper industry is going to change until the “paper” part isn’t as important as the “news” part. And there will be many ways to get news from the Nevada Appeal, with paper being just one of them.