Journalism Minus 101

Guido uncovers a solicitation from what used to be a newspaper called South Florida Sun-Sentinel or or something.  Once upon a time we subscribed, but eventually the poor coverage, crappy journalism, vapid commentary, and insulting level of integrity turned me off.  When they closed down Chauncey Mabe and his excellent Sunday book review section, I closed down my subscription.

“Ten bucks for 52 weeks of the Sunday paper,” says Guido.  “We’d get that back in just the coupons.”

And with seven cats and a dog, one can’t have too much in the way of absorbent newspaper and plastic bags.

So yesterday morning when I wander outside in the dawn’s half-light there are three large Sunday papers sprawled on the driveway, or is that four?  Oh, no — that’s duMont, the black and white cat.  Eighteen pounds.  Good morning, kitty.  Don’t hurt me.

I go through the Miami Hurled first.  It usually endures for the length of my morning dump.  In fact, I think of the Hurled and my morning dump as one entity.  My Sunday morning dump.  They ought to change the name.

Then, before tackling the New York Times, I roll through the Sun-Sentinel to see if the paper has deteriorated even further in the years since I read it last.  Yep.  It has.  There is almost nothing worth reading, and what there is seems to be anywhere from one day to several weeks old, repeated (and downsized) from another news source.

The flagship pages of any real newspaper — its Sunday Editorial and Opinion section, where the newspaper’s management and opinion-makers present the paper’s vision and express its views for the community’s leadership — no longer exists.  Instead, there are two pages devoted to this function, similar to what one finds in any boondocks daily rag across the country.  I recognize two local names, including the loathsome Gary Stein whose single-line paragraph style turned me off a decade ago when he was a whiny metropolitan columnist with the political insight of an ostrich.

Page 3A — front news section — the story of the hind in Madison SD who killed his ex-schoolmate for stuffing his face into a jockstrap 50 years ago.  A full third of a page, and three photos.  National news?  Just for the record, Obalesque carried this amusing little item back in June.

In the Community Section, the lead story is about Hollywood’ annual Founder’s Day Celebration, featuring a lecture by ethnohistorian Patsy West.  Here are some insights from “staff writer” (what happened to “reporter”?) Sergy Odiduro:

Daphne Bryan, a member of the historical society, said the lecture was very informative.  “The Indians were innovative, ingenious and a humble people,” she said. “We can learn a lot from them.”

While I don’t doubt for a moment that Ms. Bryan in fact uttered as dull and vapid a statement as that, why would any journalist record it for posterity?  Dog Bites Man is not news.  Ditto this remark from a board member:

“Hollywood is an interesting town, and [Founder Joseph Young] was a very interesting man.”

Yes, and have a nice day.

In any event, my expectations were met: a waste of printers ink wrapped in a useful plastic bag, Guido salvaged a half-dozen coupons, and the whole works ends up in the recycle bin where we earn credits calculated by weight.  So except for the reading part, it’s Win Win.

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6 Responses to Journalism Minus 101

  1. julesagray says:

    You know, I just applied for a gig with the Sun Sentinel.

  2. Hose B says:

    The newspaper was systematically destroyed by the Tribune Company over a period of several years. Ten years ago I read it regularly, not it’s been at least 3 years since I even picked one up. It’s a complete waste of time.

  3. Rick says:

    No news here [pun intended]. Sam Zell and his boys need to be locked up. Really.


  4. ya' gotta' guessit says:

    Ha, ha!

    Coupons are all that these guys have left – these great masters of opinion never saw Craigslist or bloggers coming. Fucking dopes.

    The Philadelphia Inquirer and its tabloid half-sister, the Daily News have left their iconic White Tower on North Broad Street for a 2nd-floor corner of a mostly-empty former department store, and I live for the day that the remaining staff is forced onto mattresses to make a more-honest living on their backs.

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