"...people have short attention spans, and they wander off fairly rapidly if you bang away at the same thing ad nauseam."
Hence the Reg's broadening out from the boring old technology industry into big shiny planes and amateur hour climate change scepticism?
Suddenly it all makes sense!
As Francis says, you've got to at least give them points for trying...
The British newspaper industry (well, local papers are much the same, which is why I don't read those either...) is a bit depressing, really. Living out here in Canada I get the Guardian Weekly, which is a deeply impressive publication; 48 pages or so in tabloid format once a week. No fluff, just several pages of world news, a few pages of U.K. news, a comment section (the best of the comment from the domestic edition, some unique to the Weekly, and Weekly readers' letters), an excellent arts and culture section and a bit of sport. It's covered many important issues long before the rest of the media really picked up on them.
When I occasionally go back to England I pick up a domestic Guardian and am instantly depressed by how much crap it's padded out with. There was an article on the design trends in cotton shopping bags last time, for Pete's sake. This BS is obviously included because it's necessary to sell papers in the domestic market, because it's the kind of drooling idiocy the best-selling domestic papers (Mail, Express, Times, Telegraph) are stuffed with. But damn, does it make the thing depressing to read (and awkward to carry). There's probably enough useful content in the entire mess that is a modern daily British paper (never mind the wasteland of the Saturday and Sunday papers) to fill a single 24 to 32-page tabloid sheet.
As Francis says, it's nice that the Graun is trying *something* new, just a pity they're basically doing the wrong thing. They've clearly recognized the traditional newspaper industry is chasing itself rapidly up its own arsehole, but haven't quite put their finger on what to do instead yet. Hopefully they'll succeed eventually. If not I hope they just dump the domestic publication, jack up the price of the international edition to cover costs, and carry on selling that. I'd happily pay a couple of hundred quid for my annual subscription.
As for the happy-talk about the programs - well, what did you expect? Newspapers employ PR flacks just like everyone else. Do you honestly expect them to say "well, folks, this thing's going down faster than Paris Hilton on a barrel of margaritas and a video camera - we're going to re-shuffle the deckchairs a bit so it looks like we're doing something to make it work better"? Of course they bloody wouldn't.