In today’s Courier-Journal, a tale of two newspapers

CJ premium editionFor a glimpse of what the Courier-Journal can do when it really commits resources, consider today’s installment of the quarterly premium sections introduced in March. It’s devoted to all things food: from farmer’s markets to an impressive farm-to-table restaurant guide. It’s handsomely designed, as you can see in the photo, left, of the cover.

And at a $1 per-subscriber surcharge, the sections surely brings in tens of thousands of dollars in additional revenue. Plus, they’ve got a long shelf life, so readers are likely to keep them well after recycling the rest of the paper.

But that’s in the CJ’s printed version. Where’s all that special new content in the other, more important edition: the website and mobile app, where coveted younger readers spend most of their time? Boulevard can’t find it online in  the food section. Ditto for the farm-to-table section, or health and fitness. Strangest of all, it’s not in the subscribers-only Xtras section, even though that’s where the paper’s top editor directed readers when the first installment was published in March.

Newspapers everywhere are battling for business in a world turned upside down by online competition. But all too often, their digital distribution comes up way too short, especially when it involves content that, like freeze-dried food, has a long shelf life.

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