Pan o Palo

Media Mania
January 2, 2009, 11:09 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

It pains me to watch the slow death of “The Newspaper of the Twin Cities”.  I suppose, because of its Capital-investmentism and declining ad revenue, it’s going to be a sure bet that the Strib is going to the wayside rather painfully.

It keeps getting worse.

According to a staff memo, the Star Tribune will combine its “A” and “B” sections on three January Mondays “to gauge reader reaction.” Presumably, if readers don’t scream, the Strib’s national and local news sections will stay smushed together.

The Strib will begin the change Jan. 12, right around the time it could file for bankruptcy.

And worse.

Both Nick and Katherine write the kinds of very political columns that most newspapers would be more likely to feature on their editorial or “Op-Ed” pages than in their local news sections, and we have decided that, at a time when the economy is in a deep decline and advertising revenue is suffering, we would rather use these two full-time positions for reporting the news than for expressing opinion. We will continue to have Metro section columnists, but they will write columns that are not as overtly partisan.

Just.  Awesome.  Partisanism is their concern right now?  Not the collapsing economy?  Why is Chris Harte feigning that politics is even in play right now?  The financial constraints that we’re all under right now could (almost) justify axing two columnist jobs, but it’s somehow in the interest of political neutrality?  I don’t get it.

Granted, my newspaper experience is limited to a temp position in the PiPress’ classified department and delivering a few newspapers as a kid, so I’ll leave the expert detail of the industry up to the Brauers and Lamberts of the world.  Regardless, it still pisses me off that this is happening to “my” newspaper.  It pisses me off that this would happen to any newspaper, or semi-serious news organization that purposes to have the publics best interest in mind.  Let’s hope that a lot of this is hyperbole.


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The Strib has been going down the toilet since at least the Clinton impeachment. I stopped subscribing (after 25 years) during Bush’s glorious Iraqi adventure–couldn’t stand the White House press releases masquerading as news.

I actually date the beginning of the end to the sale of the paper by the Cowles family–I don’t know when that happened but it was a long time ago. Then the new owners hired a guy named Joel Kramer to be the editor, and he was a nincompoop of the highest order. I started seeing real shit in the paper for the first time. But I guess Kramer was really good at getting ads from Walzer Ford, which was what it was really all about, after all.

When I was a kid in the ’60’s some people used to deplore the fact that newspapers couldn’t print ‘good news’, as if somehow ignoring bad things and focusing on the good would make the world a better place.

Well, those people have won. All pretense of a newspaper being about news, or about Joe Pulitzer’s dictum about comforting the afflicted and afflicting the comfortable–gone into the memory hole.

The Strib used to be a decent paper; never great (remember Robert T. Smith? Oy!) but not bad. Now we see that at its root it was always just basically an advertising throw away. They just stopped pretending it was anything else.

Comment by Adam Hominem

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