I got a shock when I opened my favourite newspaper this Sunday. For some reason, at which I can only guess, the sport section has been reduced to tabloid format. In fact, the sport section seems to have become part of the SoccerLife insert… and even worse, relegated to the back of the insert. The reason why this is a strange decision is that, last time I checked, soccer is a category of sport, not the other way round so it doesn’t make much sense. Also the fact that it is in a smaller tabloid format in my mind reduces its importance.
I think I know why they did it. Sport traditionally doesn’t attract much advertising in newspapers. It was probably this that caused them to shunt it. But most papers of worth view their sport sections as a “loss leader”. It doesnt attract advertising, but the readers love it — and it’s an essential part of the news mix.
This decision was particularly strange because the Sunday Times has a very visual “tell us what you think” communication campaign on the go with their readers, but it appears this isn’t really a decision for and by the readers. I hope they review their thinking on this one.
Also — can someone tell me why the backpage of the Sunday Times has regularly found its way on the frontpage of the Business Times in recent months? I don’t know if displaying Victoria Secret Girls and the like is an attempt to boost readership, but it misses the mark for me — and reduces what should be an authoritative business weekly, into something cheap and trivial. I am no prude, I love the back page — but not in Business Times, surely?