Monday, June 23, 2008

The descent from news

In its heyday, the TV show Seinfeld devoted an arc to developing a show "about nothing." The Enquirer gives you a newspaper about nothing. It seems more and more of the stories in the Enquirer aren't news. Today's newspaper, for instance, gives you a story about rising food prices and its effect on horses. Compare that to the Columbus Dispatch, which on Sunday gave us a story about rising food prices and its effect on food banks -- in other words, food for people.

I am slack-jawed browsing the Enquirer's new terrible web site, looking for news. Graeter's gets new packaging; on the web site, the story is a cheap excuse to run a photo of three little girls licking ice cream cones. A story about a local company trying to stop domain name theft makes it to the front page.

I have been seeing non-news stories in the paper day after day. This is a newspaper that is short on staff, short on time and other resources, and sadly short on common sense. Gannett's revenue is shrinking, and though daily circulation at the Enquirer is up slightly since the Post shut down, Sunday circulation is down 10,000 from a year earlier. The dire state of the newsroom means no one should spend five minutes working on a story about Graeter's new packaging. The Enquirer editors seem unable to prioritize stories, and work on news that matters and report it in depth. Newspapers are faced with the choice between what they can do with limited resources, and what they should do. The Enquirer makes the wrong choice day after day, and it's costing them.

I defy any Enquirer editor to explain their news philosophy. I would reprint it here, without comment. I don't believe it exists.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

The Enquirer's blogs

Does anyone else think that the new blog platform sucks? The blogs are hard to find, hard to read, hard to use. I also get the feeling, from the smaller number of comments posted, that traffic is down. This is another example of something Gannett has done for the benefit of advertising that gives a big fuck-you to readers. And Gannett thinks it "gets" the Internet.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Is change coming?

How do you describe individual Enquirer editors without using names? You could say "the crazy editor," but there would be several candidates. Same goes for "milquetoast" or "bully."

Let's go with "bully." One of the Enquirer's editor bullies is said to have interviewed for the executive editor position at Gannett's Fort Myers News-Press in Florida last Friday. There will be many people cheering for this bully's departure, but you have to ask, why would anybody hire him? First, he's a bully. Second, there is not a single thing that happened during his tenure that would impress anybody journalistically. The only thing he's good at is scowling and shouting, but those aren't really talents.

Wait, maybe we should say only good things about him so somebody hires him. He's large, and I think he can spell many words well.

UPDATE JULY 7: The News-Press decided to go in another direction.