An economic theory of the Tribune's conservatism | Bleader

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

An economic theory of the Tribune's conservatism

Posted By on 09.18.07 at 11:36 AM

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Why is the Tribune, a conservative newspaper, losing market share in one of the most Democratic cities in the country? Because it's good business or something.

"There's one explanation for [Media Matters' findings that the majority of syndicated columnists are conservative] which has nothing to do with a nefarious conservative cabal running the newspaper industry.

"Demographically, newspaper readers tend to be older than non-newspaper readers. An older audience is likely to be more conservative. Newspapers are generally in business to be profitable. That means, more often than not, providing consumers with products that reflect their tastes. Thus, more conservative syndicated columnists than not."

But it's cool, because there are lots of liberal blogs on the Internet, so if you think the Tribune is reactionary/old and doddering/a water-carrier for a corrupt Republican party/etc, well, there's lots of other words on the Internet.

"While all of us in the newspaper industry will readily agree with MM that newspapers remain important sources of news and information, the growth of the Internet, particularly of blogs, especially of the political variety, suggests that the nation isn't exactly starved for a diversity of political viewpoints. Never have so many been able to say so much to so many others.

"So even though newspapers collectively may carry more syndicated conservative than progressive columnists, maybe it doesn't really matter as much as Media Matters would have us believe."

On the other hand, they do write lots and lots of stuff about iPhones, so that'll take care of the young adult audience right there, and in 40 years maybe they'll start reading the editorial page.

Personally, if I ran the Trib, I'd make RedEye the alienated liberal 20-something to the Tribune's distant, respectable parent, because nothing's more compelling than the eternal verities. Also: when do we get the RedEye equivalent of WGN radio? Low-power radio is like the new vinyl

(h/t Atrios


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