James Warren thinks Americans should look to the Brits to help spice up their papers:
Back home, we newspaper guys tend to get nervous with the entertainment quest, seeing that as potentially minimizing an air of authority, and have a devil of a time having fun in a smart, sophisticated way. When it comes to being truly fun, we're a bit repressed, consumed by honorable notions of balance and don't have the courage of our darker impulses.
We've been addicted to segmentation, including the mandates of marketers who hawk the need to segment all of us as consumers. But there's an inherent fallacy in that worldview and forgets what can be our comically eclectic impulses. The guy who goes to church may like fancy clothes or cars, reality television shows, a drive-time shock radio host and both the Economist and People magazines. He may go for Beethoven, U-2 and Politico.com. So perhaps the trick is not going niche for niche's sake. Perhaps one can be provocative, smart and general interest at the same time.
Or as one great journalist says, "Make the important interesting."
(Now go watch this Boston terrier hump a Pikachu.)