By Mark Hanzlik, Executive Director
I read across the newswire yesterday that The Dallas Morning News was closing their free entertainment weekly, Quick after nearly eight years in the market. Though not anything close to an alternative weekly news product, Quick did play a role in The Alternative Weekly Network over the years. The final issue is scheduled for August 4.
Apparently, The Dallas Morning News has decided they can reach niche audiences (i.e. a younger cadre) just a easily through their web site dallasnews.com, Arts & Life, GuideLive.com, FD Luxe, and their mobile apps. There’s no argument there, but I wonder if the mission has been wrong-headed all along. If advertisers in the market are clamoring for younger, active consumers, and the daily newspaper no longer reaches that target group, what have they done to re-invent their publishing model(s)? The answer appears to have been, create more products from the same mothership, and reader shopping discounts and games via catchy mobile apps. The media landscape may have changed so dramatically now the definition of an alternative to mainstream media no longer exists in the same fashion. On the other hand, the decision to shutter Quick could have just been an ‘accounting ledger’ decision.
Quick, launched in late 2003 (up against local competitor A.M. Journal Express) was one of the early products aimed at reaching a younger demographic in bite size chunks or “quick-read” as they called it. It began as a 5-day a week news digest but evolved into a weekly product in 2008. Quick Publisher Alison Draper departed not too long after that, and returned to the alt publishing with Creative Loafing. Draper had been at The Dallas Observer prior to her post at Quick.
The announcement certainly did not come as a surprise. However, one downside for AWN is the recent ad sales success we’ve had with Quick and we certainly recognize the importance of the Dallas marketplace.