Philip M. Stone writes on the Follow the Media web site about what happens when newspapers decide to make changes to their business sections — and readers complain vociferously.
Stone wrote, “On the opposite coast The Oregonian overhauled its business section last month and the calls, mostly negative, came flooding in. They can be summed up by the reader who left a voicemail saying, ‘Your business section used to be more interesting than the obituary section. But now that youâ€™ve made this change, the obituary section is more interesting than the business section.â€?’
“The newspaper made a point of contacting everyone who complained, and since some complained more than once they got contacted more than once, and the newspaper is now tweaking its financial tables to try and cater to individual needs where possible.
“Financial sections seem to be the most sensitive sections for change. Older people who are not computer savvy donâ€™t like being told to go onto the Internet to look at share listings that used to appear in print.
“When the Washington Post went through that exercise the complaints came flying in. ‘For me and for so many other Washington Post customers, November 14, 2006 is the day that The Washington Post died. What numbskull thought that to save newsprint costs, it would be wise to perform a slash and burn edit of the stock tables. In this new reduced format, they are useless,’ a reader wrote.”
Read more here.