Kim Fletcher in the Guardian predicts the death of the Sunday paper in the UK. The problem there is that Sunday papers have separate staffs — thus added costs — and in the case of the Guardian, a separate brand: The Observer. The problem, Fletcher says, is that news is not just daily anymore — it’s constant online — and so how does a weekly rhythm fit into this new music?
In the U.S. most Sunday papers operate with the same staffs as the daily. When I was Sunday editor of the New York Daily News, I saw continuing efforts to dedicate reporting staff to Sunday, efforts that failed as the hands were recruited to work on daily stories. So the inefficiency of a separate Sunday staff is not really an issue here. And I don’t fully understand why it is an issue in the UK; Sunday’s just another day, only fatter.
But I do wonder about the fate of the Sunday paper from our end of the press. I don’t read Sunday papers anymore. I spend the weekend catching up on reading many sources, including Sunday papers, online. Sunday’s best business reason to exist here was classified advertising and with that shriveling like a year-old grape, they are less profitable. Oh, they’re not doomed yet. As long as papers still print, they’ll likely print on Sundays. Saturday papers face a more dire fate here, since they are not bought and have little advertising. But I have to wonder whether the tradition of the fat Sunday read is in doubt here as well.