Letter: Boost the readability of Xpress

Graphic by Lori Deaton

I love your paper and often donate to it. But I would like to point out that many readers are over 50, and their eyesight is not what it used to be, or even worse. Looks like your paper uses 8- to 9-point copy and is very difficult to read in anything but bright light.

I am no stranger to publishing, and I understand that fewer pages cost less to produce, but how many more pages would it take to use 11-point copy that is much easier to read?

When you combine the tiny type now used on newsprint, which diminishes the contrast between type and paper, you have a difficult situation for the eyesight-challenged.

— Karen Johnson

Editor’s response: Thank you for the feedback, particularly coming from someone who knows publishing. And thanks for valuing the work we do.

As you likely know, if we increase the point size, then we either have to publish less content or increase our expenses. These are challenging times to raise expenses, particularly given that in order to survive the trends away from print and the difficulties of COVID lockdowns, we have had to rely on a strategy of expense reduction (in addition to thinking creatively about sales, distribution and alternative income sources).

All that said, we will discuss the idea of slightly larger text point size and the full context of publishing and reaching older readers effectively.


Thanks for reading through to the end…

We share your inclination to get the whole story. For the past 25 years, Xpress has been committed to in-depth, balanced reporting about the greater Asheville area. We want everyone to have access to our stories. That’s a big part of why we've never charged for the paper or put up a paywall.

We’re pretty sure that you know journalism faces big challenges these days. Advertising no longer pays the whole cost. Media outlets around the country are asking their readers to chip in. Xpress needs help, too. We hope you’ll consider signing up to be a member of Xpress. For as little as $5 a month — the cost of a craft beer or kombucha — you can help keep local journalism strong. It only takes a moment.

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4 thoughts on “Letter: Boost the readability of Xpress

  1. Grant

    Sight issues aren’t just about age, MX. Unfortunately we have a community that is very much not in tune with Citizens with Disabilities and that definitely applies to too many of our institutions.

  2. Curious

    Has Mountain X considered going all-digital, with no print edition? How does your online readership numbers compare to your print readership numbers?

    • Able Allen

      Hi Curious,
      Digital-only isn’t a viable business model since online revenue is a fraction of print revenue. A printed product provides a unique and important local presence in the community, serves local merchants advertising needs better, offers a greater revenue stream — and lets people stay connected without being online or on a computer. We offer content on our website with no paywall as an additional distribution method. Our website reaches 23,000 people weekly who visit from around the nation and the world — however our print readership is more than double that, with all the issues picked up locally. Why have only one when we can have both?

      • Curious

        Thank you for that helpful information. I’m glad to hear all the print issues are being picked up and that there’s still an audience for the printed word.

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