Friday, January 27, 2006

Do people really read jumps?

Another thought that drifted in while counting the bolts on the Tyngsborough Bridge:

Do enough people really turn to Page A7 to make it worth the trouble?

I know some people will read the paper word for word regardless, but I'm not one of them. I think my jump percentage in 2005 was at least 60 percent, way over our stated goal of 25 percent but low if you consider that a previous employer assumes all A1 stories will jump and even has a designated page with no ads - "superjump" - for the A1 runover.

If you browse through front pages on any given day, you'll see a LOT of jumps. And if you listen to the tinny voices that squeak reason, you'll hear a lot about how readers don't like jumps.

Jumps are sometimes credited with allowing for more in-depth coverage than you get if you cut the hell out of everything. Maybe, but why not just run a non-jumped story with a refer to all the in-depth stuff on an inside page.

Hey, most stories aren't worth jumping, even if there's good information in them. A diligent reader won't expect the newspaper to be her only source of news and information and would just surf for the uncut versions online anyway.

So I've cut back. This month, I'm a little over our annual goal of 33 percent - 25 for 71 with two layout days (Monday and Tuesday) left to go. I'm not the page designer on Sundays or holidays, so I can't control every front page, but I can keep score, and this is a fairly fun challenge...

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