Humour wins

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Last updated on August 9th, 2017 at 05:21 am

NY Post editor Col Allan, whose paper has defied widespread trends to record a circulation increase, offers some excellent advice that applies as much to blogs as it does to print media:

“One of the things I’ve done at the Post is constantly ask everybody to listen to the market, to listen to their readers,” Allan says. “It’s a different approach than you generally see here in the US. Too many editors and too many journalists here feel that they have been ‘chosen’, that their view of the news and their opinions are what the readers should have. My approach is completely different. I try to listen to the readers and hear what they want from us. Then I work hard to give it to them.”

Allan says humour is the classic example. “We say a feeling of wellbeing and happiness is a good thing, so we work hard to make people have a laugh everyday,” he says. “But you go through the papers in this country and it’s amazing just how absolutely humourless they are.

“Humour doesn’t mean you can’t be serious about news and politics and crime and everything else. But they have a problem with it because of this arrogant notion that it may make them look less important to their readers. The price of this arrogance is that folks are turning off. And worse still, the editors are then turning around and blaming the internet. What they should be doing is working harder to produce newspapers that people actually want to consume and enjoy and have fun with.

“I was just talking to a guy from The New York Times who asked me if papers are losing their readers to the internet. I told him that might be true for papers like his, but not for mine and not for the Daily News.

“He asked me what I meant about the Daily News and I said: ‘Well, if they worked harder to make papers that weren’t so f—-ing dreary, they might have a better time of it.”

Col (full disclosure: he’s a friend) tends to say much the same to his own staff. It’s one reason why his papers sell.

Posted by Tim B. on 11/03/2006 at 12:56 PM
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