It wasn’t that long ago that a Sunday edition of the Oklahoman had about 50-60 pages of classified ads. These days, it’s 16. I’ve gotten used to that, I suppose, but of late something else has shrunk: Parade magazine, the granddaddy of all Sunday supplements, is down to around 16 pages. You’d think there’d be enough vendors of senior-citizen crap to fill up twenty or so and still have room for Marilyn vos Savant and that tedious hack Walter Scott.
But no. And a few months ago Advance Publications, also the owner of all those upscale-or-die Condé Nast magazines, set Parade adrift on an ice floe, where it floated into the nets of Athlon Media Group, which promptly okay, not so promptly announced the slicing of the rate base from 32 million to 22 million “through measures like concentrating distribution in larger, urban markets.” Yeah, like those suave urbanites have been screaming for a weekly quiz by Ken Jennings.
Athlon, which hasn’t yet bothered to connect parade.com to its own Web site except through murky bottom-of-the-page links, could actually be sitting on a gold mine, Gannett having killed off Parade’s primary competitor, USA Weekend, last weekend. But maybe it’s all part of that same dreaded evolutionary cycle, in which newspapers mutate from daily reading material to quaint anachronisms to mere apps.