Print: Making Old Media New Again

The Wall Street Journal announced a major print redesign today, part of which will be stronger links to WSJ online.

Simultaneously, The New York Times announced OnMovies a print entertainment rag to be given away at cinemas. In June, its corporate parent bought a stake in the free paper Metro Boston. And didn’t the Times recently announce they’d produce a free classified-ad paper for New York?

Craig, watch your back.

Print publishers are in try-anything mode. Smacking of desperation as readers — particularly younger ones — migrate to the Web in hordes, giving it away appears the dominant strategy of most. There’s also a too-transparent “appeal to the younger demo at any cost” approach. I was horrified to see potty training merit the Op-Ed page today. Fee-to-free has made the NYC subway a whole new ballgame. The exits and stairways are bottlenecked by hawkers thrusting at least two free papers (sometimes more) on disinterested commuters.

Genuine innovation is needed to save offline from online. How’s that for a new spin on things?

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