Thursday, July 30, 2009

Will t.o.night Keep Canadians from Sleeping in the Subway?

TTC Subway mapImage by Sweet One via Flickr

Come September, late afternoon and rush hour subway commuters in Toronto will have a new, free publication to read while jostling for seats (with Canadian politeness, of course). With an initial press run of 100,000, t.o.night will be distributed at transit stations between 3:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m.

The paper will largely rely on newswire stories and funnel most of its content from the Canadian Press and from Blog T.O. and other local blogs, according to its managing editor. Fewer than 20 people will staff the publication, which will emphasize news, entertainment and to-do lists on magazine paper in a format designed for holding in one hand. t.o.night will compete against giveaways, the Metro and 24.

Reviewing several "TUOL" posts these past three months yields numerous items featuring print journalists lamenting about declines in readership, sagging ad revenues, staff cutbacks, under-selling news content and the search for that "certain something" that will breathe new life into newspapers. Along comes t.o.night--a free newspaper with a lean news staff, little advertising, and publishing canned wire stories that crowded subway riders can watch for free on CNN with beer in hand as soon as they get home.

The search for the magic bullet continues.
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