The newspaper's in-house newsletter recently featured a fine story about the SR offering readers learn-a-language record albums 50 years ago.
It was a promotion designed to increase subscriptions. Readers were to clip out coupons appearing in consecutive papers and then send those in along with a small check. Or something like that. The records would arrive in the mail. Collect them all!
According to the story by Joe Butler, a few other papers tried this. But local readers availing themselves of this special offer received vinyl records with “The Spokesman-Review” emblazoned on the label.
Some of those who wish Spokane was a different sort of place think of the SR as one of the local institutions instrumental in keeping the city, as they see it, parochial and provincial.
But here the paper was offering to help readers learn at least a little about how to speak Spanish, French, Italian, Japanese, German, Russian and Hebrew — a dozen years before Expo. How horizons-broadening can you get?
OK, OK. The idea, of course, was to get more people to sign up for home delivery of the paper. Nobody had any real plan to turn Spokane into a community version of Jason Bourne.
But here in this nation of immigrants, learning languages is a good thing. I'm sort of proud of the paper for having tried that, even if it does sound a bit goofy 50 years later.
That was then, though. This is now. And that brings us to…
Today's Slice question: If you were in charge of circulation-building promotions at The Spokesman-Review, what would you offer people in 2012 as an inducement for signing up for home delivery?