In his paean to Webcomic Achewood the other day, my fellow time.com blogger Lev Grossman mentioned in passing that “I always loved comic strips—that was the sole reason my family ever bought the Boston Globe growing up.”
That got me thinking. There’s been a ton written about how Craigslist is wiping out the newspaper classified advertising business. It’s doing it with such ease in part because Craig Newmark isn’t really a capitalist, and thus doesn’t charge much for ads, but mainly because there’s no particular connection between the classified ads in a newspaper and anything else in the paper. The newspaper is just a distribution channel for the ads, and now a far more efficient one has come along.
But it’s not just the classifieds. Some newspaper buyers—like the Grossman family, apparently—have been getting it just for the comics. Others have been buying it for the supermarket sale ads, others for the stock market tables, others for those swell Cal Thomas columns on the op-ed page, others for the weather forecast, others for movie showtimes, others for sports scores, others for stories on national and world events, and yet others for the local news, sports, and lifestyle coverage. The size of that last group is anybody’s guess, but it has to be significantly smaller than the total universe of newspaper buyers. …
You can read the rest here. It was one of the first posts I wrote after coming to TIME from Fortune, and thanks to a link from Achewood creator Chris Onstad it got tons of traffic and 50 comments. “Wow, I’m a blogging juggernaut,” I thought to myself. Not quite. Turns out the only other posts I wrote that got that kind of comment action were about the Fair Tax and Ron Paul.