On the front today…

For those of you who might come straight to my blog page, I’ve been absent the last few days while working on this commentary for the OJR front page.

I hope you’ll give it a look.

Want readers? Then cover what they care about.

Nielsen Media Research reports 27 million watched ‘American Idol’ on TV last night. But an average of just 18.6 million watched the Winter Olympics.

So I open the local newspaper this morning, then cruise around news websites, and I see plenty of expanded coverage for the Olympics. But I don’t see those news outlets running columns covering what happened on ‘Idol’ and inviting readers to talk about it.

Why not? I thought the journalism industry was in the business of attracting readers. And that news execs are blowing millions on consultants and makeovers to reach younger readers. If there’s a contest going on in this country that’s attracting 27 million viewers, many of them teens and young adults, why wouldn’t the news industry want a piece of that action? Why leave it to morning radio shows and fan websites?

I’m not calling for eight-page special sections. But how much work would it take to assign an entertainment columnist to write a blog and print column with recaps, previews and analysis? Plus an invitation for readers to leave comments at the paper’s website?

Surely, some newspaper has figured this out. If you know of one, submit its link below.

Here's the Olympics link of the day

Everyone else tells you about the Winter Olympics’ winners. But here’s a blog with news about the athletes at the back of the pack: DFL celebrates the competitors who won’t be taking home any hardware from Turin. (Unless you count stuff from the ER….) It’s not a spoof site, though. Every competitor has a story, not just the winners who show up on TV. As the blog’s tag line says,

“Celebrating last-place finishes at the Olympics. Because they’re there, and you’re not.”