WaPo Sunday Changes Are Puzzling

WaPo is making interesting (in other words, peculiar) changes to its Sunday features.

  • Several Sunday sections will now arrive on Saturday, but will still be called Sunday sections.
  • Arts & Style will be split into two sections called – hold on to your hats – Arts and Style.
  • The Arts section will have a “new emphasis on the Arts” (weird) including more book reviews and news pieces about museums, theater, and opera.
  • The Kidspost section, usually part of Style, will become a four-page pullout, because if there’s one thing kids like to do on the weekend, it’s read a newspaper.
  • Saturday Sunday Style will add two components: DealHunter, reporting on deals in local stores, and Web inSites (see what they did there?) to help adults who only read print newspapers learn what the Internet is.

WaPo‘s Executive Editor Marcus Brauchli and Sunday and Features Editor Kevin Sullivan hosted live chats today at noon to answer questions from subscribers. Many liked the changes, but some didn’t and that’s putting it mildly.

One reader asked the most obvious question: “If its published and delivered on Saturday, why do you continue to call it ‘Sunday’?”

Brauchli explained that “today” is the new “tomorrow”…

Brauchli:  “If you’re a newsstand buyer, you’d get the whole package on Sunday. Home-delivery subscribers have long received much of the paper on Saturdays, to give them more time to spend with the many sections. (And I suppose there’s an element of tomorrow’s-news-today marketing to it, just as there is with magazines that put dates on their covers that always seem weeks or months hence.)”

Another reader: “The Post has completely gone off the rails. I loathe the new Post like few things I have ever loathed. If the Post is going to stay viable, management should be listening to people like me. I want to subscribe for decades to come, but I have become disenchanted with the lazy mistakes and random revamps that continually drag down the paper’s quality.”

Brauchli apologized, but it doesn’t look like he’ll be changing the Sunday sections back anytime soon.

More questions? Answers are hopefully here.