Like your Sunday newspaper but hate all those local and national news pages that slow your burrowing toward the ad sections? Well, the Star Tribune has a new edition just for you!
Beginning this Sunday, readers can get “StribExpress,” which contains all the Sunday ads plus six pages of “the best features content from the Star Tribune,” according to a media release.
News features? No, silly! “Content will be selected and edited by Star Tribune newsroom editors and will focus on lifestyle, home and garden, cooking and personal finance stories,” the release states.
To be clear: the Strib will still be putting out the regular Sunday paper. And the organization has had similar ad-heavy products to boost advertising reach in coveted areas. However, if the glorified ad circulars featured editorial content, it was often truly awful syndicated stuff. This is the first time the newsroom has been involved, says Strib vice president Ben Taylor.
In one sense, the new Sunday paper resembles Vita.mn, which also re-purposes newsroom content in a different ad package.
Like Vita.mn, StribExpress will be free, but unlike the entertainment weekly, the new Sunday paper will be delivered — to 20,000 readers in 32 zip codes. (It’s a motley list that includes northeast Minneapolis and Lake Nokomis, and zip codes in suburbs such as Columbia Heights, Plymouth, Maple Grove, Hopkins and Prior Lake. There doesn’t appear to be any east-metro action.)
Taylor acknowledges that the move is made in part because the Strib’s Sunday circulation has been dropping for years. Earlier this year, the paper created new Dakota and Washington county news sections to boost circulation there; StribExpress is a different animal, but aimed at the same revenue problem.
Because StribExpress readers have “opted in” via telephone or mail solicitations, the Star Tribune can count it as verified circulation under new Audit Bureau of Circulations rules, though it won’t be lumped in with the “main” Sunday paper.
While it’s hard to resist jokes about the Sunday paper becoming as soft as Charmin, it’s a good thing if advertisers still want to use a news organization to get their messages out. (After all, plenty of advertising alternatives have no news-gathering to subsidize.) Hopefully, this particular McPaper won’t prompt people to drop the real one.