Day 2 Of The New Star-Advertiser

Tuesdays are tough days for most newspapers. Which businesses want to advertise on a Tuesday? Not many, without incentives from a publisher, it appears.

It's too early to judge the Star-Advertiser's advertising situation. But let's put it this way, on Day 2 the new paper has a lot of open pages without advertising. To the owner's credit, the paper is bigger than the Advertiser was. He's giving readers more news. But he almost has no choice, because he needs to send a message to readers and advertisers about the new publication. You remember the line from "Field of Dreams?" "If you build it, they will come." That's how a publisher has to operate initially.

The question will be what happens in a month, if the advertising still looks anything like it does on Day 2. My understanding is that the paper has told advertisers it will honor existing advertising contracts until July 11. So it may take until then for a more accurate picture to emerge.

Here's what I found on Day 2:

  • In a 46-page paper, there were 25 pages without any ads.
  • 5 ads in the coveted A section.
  • 15 ads in the B (Local) section.
  • 6 ads in the C (Sports) section.
  • 5 ads in the D (Today) section.
  • Plus the paper had 4 pages of classified ads and 5 pages of legal notices. (There were 7 paid obituaries.)
  • Typically, when figuring out the ratio between advertising and editorial, classifieds and legals are not counted.
  • If those pages are not counted, the ratio of ads vs. editorial in Tuesday's Star-Bulletin was about 10-90. Let's just say that's way out of whack. 60-40 is desirable. 50-50 works. 10-90, not so good.
  • If those pages are counted, the ratio would be more like 28 percent advertising, 72 percent editorial.

A few other points:

  • The website was more timely today. As I write at 5:22 p.m., the most recent update is from 4:59 p.m. But police shot a man wielding a machete at about 2:15 p.m. and the article didn't appear on the website until 3:29 p.m., more than an hour after the shooting. It's five paragraphs long. In most other cities, I think it's fair to say that such an article would get more prominent display on the newspaper website. Maybe the Star-Advertiser is taking a different approach.

  • The newspaper's front page image on Day 1 was a doormat with the word, "Welcome on it." Not very exciting, especially when the lead headline said it much better: "Aloha." Day 2 had another photo illustration, a hand holding a whiteboard eraser. Two days. Two dull images. Not every publication needs to emphasize photos. (It's fair to say we don't, yet, at Civil Beat.) And it's good to see that it seems like the Star-Advertiser will run pictures larger than the old Advertiser did. But I hope in such a beautiful place as Hawaii, the front page makes me feel like I'm here.


DISCUSSION: What do you think about the new Star-Advertiser? Share your thoughts on the newest journalism operation in Honolulu.

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