‘Columbus Dispatch’ Peppers Paper With Red Labels to Point Out Exclusive Content

By: E&P Staff

In its editions Sunday, The Columbus (Ohio) Dispatch is filled with red logos, not to celebrate Valentine’s Day — but to show readers stories and information they are getting “Only in The Dispatch.”

“There are so many that one editor joked that ‘the Sunday paper’s going to look like it has measles'” Editor Benjamin J. Marrison wrote in a note to readers.

Anyone trying to read the red-labeled stories on the Dispatch’s Web site will have to either register or sign on as a subscribers.

“It’s our way of pointing out that while our original content is free online today, that might not be the case in the future,” Marrison wrote. “It’s also a way to show to all of our readers that newspapers remain the dominant source for local news.”

More than 50 stories are labeled, but much more content is actually exclusive, Marrison said. “We could not put them on everything that is exclusive, such as the photos, graphics and every letter to the editor.”

The red logos also serve to show readers that “newspapers remain the dominant source for local news,” Marrison wrote, citing the recent Project for Excellence in Journalism study that found newspapers accounted for 61% of local news generated in Baltimore. The finding has been challenged by some critics as over-estimating the newspaper’s role.

Marrison said no other media organization in the Columbus area covers local news with the depth and resources of the newspaper.

“Unlike our competitors, we have people who spend their entire workdays covering specific beats,” he wrote. “We don’t drop in on City Hall once a week for a council meeting. We are there every day, talking with people behind the scenes who can explain why and how things happen, or get a jump on what is going to happen. That’s why we dominate local-government coverage.” The same is true with sports and cultural coverage, he argued.

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