By Shamla K. Shakir
Shamla K. Shakir is an AJR editorial assistant.
The "compact edition" of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania's Patriot-News had a compact lifespan: Four months after the launch of the minipaper, editors called it quits, publishing the last issue on September 30 (see Drop Cap, August/September).
"We've proved that a lot of occasional readers really like the compact format... We've also proved that turning them into regular buyers has been incredibly daunting," John Kirkpatrick, editor and publisher of the Newhouse-owned paper, wrote in an e-mail to AJR.
The edition, a "reader-friendly" version of the Patriot-News dubbed, simply, the Patriot, was published weekdays after its premiere May 18. By September, the 50-cent paper (the same price as the bigger broadsheet) was selling a little more than 1,000 copies a day, Kirkpatrick says, adding that he had hoped the paper would be selling 2,000 to 3,000 copies by then.
He says he pulled the plug on the experiment because it was siphoning newsroom attention from the main paper. "Instead of being a vehicle to grow," Kirkpatrick wrote in an e-mail to the staff, "I fear The Patriot is diverting our energies from the broadsheet, which must be our priority." ###