Sex sells, but who’s buying?

It’s an understatement to say that the Nevada Sagebrush‘s front page this week is attention-grabbing. It’s a giant red-letter “SEX” surrounded by pornographic visuals and evocative phrases. It’s a nightmare for the readers who consider sex columnist Caitlin Thomas to be the biggest journalistic travesty since Jayson Blair.

Now, I don’t have an issue with addressing sex in the paper, especially in an ‘edgy’ collegiate publication like the Sagebrush. What I do have an issue with is the news judgement. The story directly underneath the fold,  a feature on how Spanish professors Guillermo Meza and Emma Sepulveda escaped a Chilean military coup in the 1970s, is probably one of the best stories the organization will run this year. Why not feature this story prominently, rather than burying it underneath a massive, non-news section? Why not find an excellent photo and feature it prominently? There are so many ways to present this story that could bring attention and recognition to the front page, but the only thing normal readers see is a giant word art of “Sex.”

The lesson here is that unless a story is so important or visually appealing to be worth taking up everything above the fold, content needs to be diverse. Fluffy bullshit about which sex positions are best for each college isn’t worth shoving an actually decent story down the page and away from readers.

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6 thoughts on “Sex sells, but who’s buying?

  1. I too share your sentiment that the “Coup” story should have been placed differently. I will go so far as to say that it should have been moved to another issue – perhaps one on immigration, people feeling dictatorial rule (There are a number in Reno), or how world events have shaped the landscape of the University of Nevada . I like the idea of featured topics in issues, and I feel that Ben’s story could have easily been placed in another edition of the paper which could have given it the prominence it deserves.

    On the other hand, I like the idea that Ben’s story may get more exposure, especially since this issue is creating so much buzz. But, I also feel that his story could have created a buzz of its own in another special edition.

    • More people might pick up this issue, but those that do are looking mainly for the sex content. I just feel that it’s really a big missed opportunity, because it’s going to get overlooked. According to the Sagebrush website, it’s not even in the top 10 most read stories, even though it’s given the biggest space on the site.

      • Oh, I know. But, someone who might not normally pick up the paper could read it, see what a great story it is, and then want to look at more of Ben’s work in the future. That situation doesn’t have the highest probability, but I try to be as optimistic as possible. 🙂 After all, what is done is done…

      • Yea, and it’s always difficult to gauge a ‘normal reader’s’ reaction, especially because we don’t read the paper normally. If it ends up working out, more power to them.

  2. Pingback: Senator’s comments reveal widely-held (and false) view on Sagebrush funding « Life of Riley

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