In 2000 when the Examiner and Chron merged and the Examiner sold off, everyone was sure that the Examiner was not long for this newspaper world, especially after its disastrous beginning. Now, almost five years later, the Examiner is way past not dead yet. In fact, the Examiner has sired a spawn. On February 1st, Washington D.C. will have their very own version of the Ex as the brand spanking new Washington Examiner is set to debut. If the Washington newspaper is a success, the Ex’s publisher, Clarity Media, which is owned by billionaire Philip Anschutz, is all set to branch out to other cities as they have purchased the legal rights to the Examiner's name in 68 cities.
None of this would be happening if it weren’t for the fact that the owners of the Ex think they have a successful formula. In fact, they think they have the next “big idea” in newspapers. That formula? A young staff (meaning cheap), veteran editors, a subscription base of upscale readers, and revenue based only on advertising. As for editorial, that would be a manifesto of stories that are "tightly edited, getting to the point and telling clear and concise stories ... without an article 'jumping' onto multiple pages." And here we thought the Ex was just being super-cheap in not wanting to print more pages than they could afford. In fact, surveys the Examiner has done to test the waters of the Washington market have determined that people think the Post, a world-class newspaper, is too dense and too hard to read. Insert end of Western Civilization comment here. Indeed, while the Ex certainly does a better job of covering local politics than the Chron, its arts & entertainment section acknowledges that readers are interested in events to which Susie Tompkins Bell would not attend or bands that didn’t last have a hit in 1968, the Examiner isn’t exactly a paper one would turn to for in-depth analysis or, well, in-depth anything. We always thought the Examiner was a good idea as a throwaway read on a MUNI ride. A very short MUNI ride. "Big idea" in newspaper publishing, not so much.
In other Examiner news, tomorrow’s issue will feature a brand new redesign (pictured above). While it looks similar, it’s supposed to be “cleaner” and more upscale and features typography never used in a newspaper before. Let’s hope it goes over better than the Great Crossword Puzzle Debacle at the Chron.
Image from Newsdesigner.com