Do most readers no longer expect to find longtime newspaper staples in print? Consider that last week, the Denver Post trimmed Doonesbury and other comic strips from the physical paper without causing an uproar. And the response has been similarly modest a day after the Post axed stock and mutual funds tables.
The paper's announcement stated that stock and mutual-fund tables were being eliminated Tuesday through Saturday "to lower our newsprint costs." Weekly stock recaps and more will continue to be offered in print on Sundays only. Other days, readers will have to make do with daily roundups of market information. They can also visit denverpost.com/business, or go really old school by getting stock quotes over the phone at 800-555-8355.
Few readers appear to be upset by this turn of events. "We've had some calls," acknowledges Post managing editor/administration Jeanette Chavez. "It hasn't been overwhelming by any means. But we'll see. We give these things a little time."
Chavez said much the same about the muted reaction to comics cuts -- and the grumbling hasn't grown any louder over the past ten days or so. As such, the excision of Doonesbury and other favorites like Peanuts (which is now appearing on Sundays only) will become permanent without an extremely unlikely,late-in-the-game protest by the masses.
Of course, business readers have gotten accustomed to vanishing stock info. Back in 2004, then-Post Business section editor Stephen Keating eliminated week-ending stock listings after his predecessor, Al Lewis, had already removed some of the Sunday stocks. Then, in 2006, the paper announced that it would concentrate on mutual fund listings as opposed to rosters of individual stocks.
The now-defunct Rocky Mountain News echoed this move the following month, reducing its stock listings to a single page -- and generating 150 complaint calls in the process. "I was talking to ninety-year-old guys who've been subscribing for 44 years," Rocky business editor Rob Reuteman told Westword at the time. "And they're not getting on the Internet."
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Five years later, however, far more folks of impressive vintages have made that shift -- and as a result, the Post's continued to chip away at stock-oriented features.
"I can't give you the exact timing," Chavez says. "But over the course of the past several years, we've reduced the amount of stock tables considerably. It used to take up a couple of pages, but it's been reduced over time for a variety of reasons -- newsprint being one, but also, more people are focused on mutual funds rather than individual stocks. And you have more people going for the immediate gratification of looking online for what the price is. They can get much more complete information there."
No question that's the case now.
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