Sunday, December 23, 2007

Merry Christmas

There will be a short hiatus from blogging.

Christmas is here, family and travel beckon.

From my family to yours we wish you a Merry Christmas and may you realize the joy of the reason for the season.Also remember that in giving to those less fortunate we receive the greatest gift of all.

I'll be back late next week, but before New Year's. Feel free to post away. If I get a chance and there is an Internet connection I can pirate, I'll check in.

Making my case

The Sunday, Dec. 23 Flint Journal is a perfect example of what I wrote about in a previous post.
Feature stories dominate nearly all of the front section, including a main piece of art about a sports story on a basketball player.

The feature story on domestic violence is a good story, but is it more newsworthy that the traffic deaths of two local men on Saturday? That story, the first actual news story in the paper can be found on page A-9. That's a long way to have to look for news in a newspaper.

Perhaps the biggest news atrocity in the paper is the nearly two-page feature on a tired old feature, dreamed up by a clueless editor, called "Making a Difference." The Sunday feature on the feature series starts on the front page and then takes up the entire second page of the newspaper is a rehash of people who have already had their 15 minutes of fame.

Trust me, the reporters at the paper despise doing these stories and they take away from the actual reporting that should be done. But one editor believes this feature is a vital part of the newspaper. Not so vital if you take into account the current financial state of the paper.

Please leave me a comment if the reason you buy the Flint Journal is to read the weekly "Making a Difference" feature.

Good reporters will find these stories naturally as they work a beat, but this feature is based on a quota schedule and is a forced effort to find good news. It also gives the editor a guaranteed piece of art and story for the Friday newspaper.

So literally the front page is devoid of any breaking news. So is page 2, page 3 and any other page until you get to A-9. Not much for the now $2 you must now spend for the Sunday paper.
Subscribers should demand the Flint Journal, and all daily newspapers, return to the primary mission of finding and reporting breaking news and investigative pieces. And when they have breaking news, put it up front where it belongs.

Just because an editor doesn't like breaking news, or that it gets in the way of a planned layout, doesn't mean that it shouldn't be covered or displayed properly.