Building a news bridge

A red-blue newspaper exchange could close the gap


We’re going to take a break in our discussion of Thales Teixeira’s findings on digital disruptors to talk about a new idea. Here it is:

What if every American in a blue state who has a digital subscription to their daily newspaper were given a digital subscription to a daily newspaper from a red state?

What if every American in a red state who bought a digital subscription were given a digital subscription from a blue state?

What if American newspapers, weeklies and dailies, took it upon themselves to bridge the gap between Republicans and Democrats?

Why don’t we lead?

Digital subscriptions make it possible. Why not build the knowledge of people who, by subscribing, have demonstrated they care enough to read about their own communities? Why not build their knowledge about another community, on the other side of the gap?

Imagine the conversations one might hear in town, not just about the latest school board meeting here, but also the school board meeting there. Imagine the conversations you might have in the newsroom, about how your sister paper covered an issue or event.

The initiative, to reach scale, should be led by national newspaper organizations. It should be branded and marketed (house ads, at least). It should be exceedingly easy for subscribers. We want them to read both publications.

Big chains might find it relatively easy to set up sister relationships within the chain. Small, independently owned papers might need help finding a sister paper — maybe, could ask their own readers to help identify one.

Why don’t we lead?

Author: TAM

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