Dubbed "Red Eye," the full-color tabloid will be available weekdays in urban Chicago beginning early next month. It will feature a portable, tighter edition than the broadsheet Chicago Tribune, with a mixture of staff-written and wire stories. There will be local stories and a heavy focus on entertainment based on the Tribune's metromix.com Web site, said spokeswoman Patty Wetli. The stories will be shorter and without jumps.
The 25-cents-a-copy edition will be distributed in traditional newspaper channels like convenience stores, supermarkets and newsstands but also nontraditional outlets like health clubs, bars, restaurants and bookstores, "places where our target audience lives, works and plays," said Wetli.
Wetli said the most current readership statistics show that half of the demographic read at least one issue of the Chicago Tribune every week but the company wants to build more readership frequency and broaden the reach in the demographic.
Red Eye would be either the first or one of the first efforts by a traditional newspaper to have a standalone product to reach 18- to 34-year-olds on such a massive scale. But it's not the first daily newspaper in North America to be aimed squarely at that market; Metro newspapers publish four weekday tabloids with a circulation of more than 100,000 each paper in Boston, Philadelphia, Montreal and Toronto.
And it may not be the only youth-oriented tabloid daily in Chicago, either. The Sun-Times, the Tribune's rival in the Windy City, is rushing to complete a similar product. Another big newspaper company, Gannett, is developing a weekly edition aimed at the 18- to 34-year-old market.
"It's a fairly new and innovative concept in the United States," said Randy Daniel, vice president of readership integration at the Newspaper Association of America. He said this marks a turning point in the industry's thinking on how to approach younger readers.
"There's some acknowledgement that the traditional, core newspaper product, it's not a one-size-fits-all product. You may need to engage different segments with different newspaper products throughout their lifetimes," Daniel said. It's still part of the newspaper brand, he said.
"There are clearly more media choices than there were in the past and more competition for the hearts and minds of younger people," Daniel said.