What's the real purpose of 7?

Question: Some have said that the establishment of your "7" section in Friday's paper is a blatant attempt at sexualizing our youth. Others have said it is designed with mere money motives encouraging young readers to subscribe. I find it hard to believe that any responsible newspaper would engage in such heinous and/or self-serviing actions. So my question is this: Why "7"? Please state your philosophy as fully as possible so that we can make a wise choice as to how we spend our money and reading time. -- Lawrence C. Hudson

Answer: Well, I suppose some people might see 7 as "sexualizing" our youth, though that is pretty much beyond our simple section's reach and capability. But it is true that the section, exists, in part, to attract new readers to the paper. Newspapers are commercial enterprises and, to be successful, must meet the needs and report on the interests of a mass audience.

Newspapers include a sports section because it is a must for about 40 percent of our readers (the other 60 percent could care less). Business sections typically attract about 30 to 35 percent of a newspaper's readers. And so on. Last I checked, there is nothing "heinous" about a newspaper seeking to attract new readers, particularly young readers for whom the newspaper habit has yet to be established.

So why 7? I think I've answered this before. The section is designed to appeal to a broader audience with interests that go beyond entertainment but without sacrificing all the information people need to plan their weekends. 7 will not appeal to everyone. If it doesn't work for you, please don't read it. -- Steve Smith, editor

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