Monday, April 13, 2009

Winnipeg Free Press targets one reader at a time

The Winnipeg Free Press has found a way to get Winnipeggers to read the paper in its entirety one reader at a time.

A couple of weeks ago, I was at Charlie O's Lounge (better known as "Tubby's"), where I like to read the Saturday edition of the Winnipeg Free Press. Yes, I'm the one.

I always start my ritual by yanking out the sections of the newspaper I never read - Sports, Travel, Marketplace, flyers - when I noticed a woman at across the lounge look over and appear amused at what I was doing. She got up, and walked over to my table.

"You missed the most important part of the newspaper," she said.

She pulled out the Travel section from the "discard" pile, and pointed to the article "Back in Barbados," which was written by Jill Wilson, who I instantly recognized as...her. We shared a laugh, and I read the article.

Today I sent her an e-mail to confess that I'm a Creative Communications instructor at Red River College, and to let her know that I'm going to tell my students that I was "busted" by a writer for not reading her work. How humiliating!

Jill got back to me with this advice:

"You never know when Gordon Sinclair will pop up from behind a curtain and chastise you for not reading his column."

Now there's a scary thought. As of tomorrow, I'm reading the Free Press cover to cover, so help me God and Internet.

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