Pix and Fonts Newspapers Won't Make It

" . . .a paper in simple black and white with the news on the front page compressed into small but accurate and bias free squibs."

i.e., the NYT circa 1958.

Posted by ricksamerican at May 2, 2005 8:53 AM

The "Question of the Day" at the Wall Street Journal Online is, "What is the main reason for the decline in newpaper circulation?" Of course the answers are multiple choice and everyone is responding it is because of online alternatives. The other choices are: 1) diminished quality; 2) hassle of recycling; 3) biased reporting, and 4) something else. Can I send your article to the discussion area?

Posted by Barbara Spalding at May 2, 2005 1:44 PM

Fine by me.

Posted by Gerard Van Der Leun at May 2, 2005 4:22 PM

Gerard, I recall your post - maybe last spring - maybe a year ago where you do a by-the-numbers analysis of popular blogs vs weekly and monthly magazines. I remember thinking that your post was about fifty thousand dollars of free consulting advice to the established media - offering them some creative tie-ins via the web. I'm sitting up here in Seattle watching our Seattle Post Intelligencer daily turn into a foled insert of the International Socialist Workers Daily (but not as coherent as that fine broadsheet). Oh well, why bother to self examine when it is easier to blame it all on James Dobson...

Posted by Doug Anderson at May 2, 2005 10:20 PM

To follow up-I didn't get to the WSJ on time. Perhaps a Question of the Week could be of use.

I know you are a writer addressing the written media. And, I want to say I think TV news is even worse. When did Hollywood become part of the evening news? How much analysis of the "Runaway Bride" can people stand?

I very much look forward to reading your prose. You are right up there with Peggy Noonan and George Will (my favorites)in my opinion. Thank goodness for the internet; thanks for your hard work and honesty.

Posted by Barbara Spalding at May 3, 2005 9:25 AM

Is anyone collecting complaints about newspapers in some centralized organized fashion? And posting them?

My personal (un)-favourites:
-stories too often continued to some other page.
-poor indexing.
-no advertiser indexing.
-want ads so expensive the 'media' papers get badly out-competed by the local bargain or trader papers.
-either the reporters/editors are stupid/illiterate or the stories are so abbreviated as to be incomprehensible.
-non sequential page and section numbers. How the bloody blue blazes am I to know that page 'HL-12A' is part of an insert in a 'Home Living' section which is not section 'H', which sometimes is an entirely different thing. Like I said...poor indexing.
-intentional bias and lies.
-unintentional bias.
-sorry, but too many journalists are stupid. Them what can't, teach; them what can't teach, write about it.

Posted by Fred Z at May 3, 2005 1:00 PM

Great piece, Gerard.

Barbara, you may want to read "Breaking the News" by James Fallows. It's an excellent book, and he explains how the news operations at the Big 3 networks became absorbed into the entertainment divisions about 25 years ago. More emphasis on ratings, on bottom line profit, which meant closing internationl bureaus, which led to lack of coverage overseas, etc. A contemptible move, in my view -- I have no use for news that worries about ratings and can't afford to keep a reporter in Cairo or Moscow.

I'd rather they just killed it. Which, of course, is exactly what they ARE doing, although very, very slowly.

Posted by Jeff Brokaw at May 6, 2005 4:52 AM