Question: How Do You Make More By Making Less?

Answer: I don’t know in this case. The Boston Globe is suggesting that it’s readers want less so they are consolidating the paper in order to save 24 pages of printing costs. I get the whole “giving our readers what they want” angle but I think you have to parse that pretty heavily in order to come to the conclusion that Boston Globe readers want a smaller newspaper.

Globe Editor Martin Baron estimated the consolidation will save about 24 pages a week and will cut down on the need for many in-house advertisements. The paper declined to provide specific figures on how much money it will save through the consolidation.

Baron said the Globe, which is owned by the New York Times Co. (NYSE: NYT), conducted focus groups and surveys of readers in making the redesign. “The driving force here was: What do readers want and what is going to satisfy our core readers?” he said. “We, like many papers, are going through a process of reinvention.”

[From Boston Globe is consolidating its daily paper into four sections - Boston Business Journal:]

More focus and better quality, yeah I can agree with that but in no way does that mean less coverage. I was thinking about this topic yesterday while reading BusinessWeek, the only print magazine that I still subscribe to. The reason why I like BW is that they regularly improve the readability of their magazine while maintaining a good content diversity (e.g. international, market, company news, op-ed) and high quality content.

I don’t know why this formula eludes newspapers. Focus on core market subject matter, feature writers that have significant voice and build brand around them, and steer clear of the biased reporting we get too much of already. If you are a newspaper and the bulk of your content is wire service and/or cheap hit pieces then you are doing a disservice to the market you are serving. I can get wire service content off the web for free and if I want stuff aligned to my ideological bend on the world, well I can get that from blogs, for free.