The Economist and The Independent

Juan Antonio Giner’s Innovations in Newspapers blog has lots of good pictures of the Sarcozy result. Some of the best come from my daily read, La Repubblica.

Juan also has a gripe about the lack of coverage on their web sites from The Independent and The Economist. He is of course right (though by today, in both cases, the web sites have caught up – he was blogging on Sunday when many newspapers leave their web sites quiet). Newspaper web sites would be much better and more topical if they spent no time at all ‘re-purposing’ the content of the last issue. Repurposing, costs a lot and is something which newspapers do faut de mieux from pre-broadband necessity. The much better thing they can do with their last edition is publish a digital edition immediately. Doing this preserves all the design values and the brand identity of the publication and calls for no real time decisions and no new editorial resource. Repurposing necessitates decisions and editorial resources and risks misallocating them — inevitably it will. The web site should have all the things that a web site can do, and the newspaper daily/weekly edition cannot.

Like blogging on the Sarcozy result as it happens. Giner blogs on a Sunday and blogs enough to be three people, but I presume he is only single, in which case these world-class publications could easily manage to field one blogger on their web site whose role should be to get about as much as Juan Antonio. Good blogging is much cheaper than a repurposed web site — and for the record a perfect digital edition service is a lower investment even than a single world class blogger. The digital must lead to increased revenues and profits, of course.

I blogged about the tardy delivery of The Economist in Italy. Our issue is still arriving over a week late (maybe today we will get our still missing issue from 28 April). The Economist distribution department has been outstanding in following up this complaint — apparently the issue is printed in Switzerland and then trucked to Milan where it is polyloped and dispatched. But the subscriber issues still get to Florence six, or more, days later than the issues of The Tablet which are polyloped and posted in London; and about a week later than the Economists on the news stands outside the Duomo (usually on Sunday). But following my grumble, I have had two phone calls and two emails from a distribution expert, and the Economist will now try posting the Italian subscriptions in Switzerland! By the middle of May we are promised a prompter delivery. Amazingly thorough (their expert even took the trouble to find out how The Tablet copies were shipped), but remedial, customer service. A proper digital edition would be even better!