November 23, 2007

How Newspapers Fail Their Readers

I was once a newspaper reporter--six years on two different dailies before I moved to academia. So I don't like to read that newspapers are losing readers, even though it is true.

But, I swear, sometimes the papers are their own worst enemies.

Consider today's above-the-fold headline in the Pueblo Chieftain: "Parade-goers Enjoy Balmy Weather in New York" ("Above the fold" means top of the front page--what you see in the display rack.)

Not Pueblo weather, New York City weather. Not a Pueblo parade, a New York City parade.

Not to be outdone in stupidity, the Cañon City Daily Record led with an Associated Press story on post-Thanksgiving shopping, "Stores Usher in Holiday Shopping Season" (not even localized!) packaged with an AP sidebar on a new parking garage in Grand Junction.

Dear editors, your readers have either gotten that information from TV or the Web--or they simply do not care. Grand Junction is hundreds of miles from Cañon City, and no one from Cañon shops there.

Honestly, if they headlined, "Johnson Cat Has Kittens," with the story explaining that two of the kittens born at 555 E. 5th St. were calicoes, it would get more eyeball time.

No wonder the political bloggers denigrate the "mainstream media" (MSM). Such cluelessness shows that some editors really do not care at all.

No comments: