What We Need In Newspapers

I was gonna do this whole thing. You know, work up a good and righteous head of steam about newspapers needing to get back to their roots and quit blaming readers for not liking them when all they do anymore is bitch about their own stuff like that meta crap is interesting to anybody with a real job and a social life. But I think commenter BlackSheepOne said it best when I asked you guys last night in this post about what you wanted in newspapers:

I want the local news. I want to know what’s going on in my town today, and what’s on the agenda for tomorrow. I don’t give a frell about Ann Coulter’s opinion or George Will’s opinion and I could give a frack about the recycled WSJ bloviations as well. Spare me those odious filler trivia blocks.

I want to know what’s on the school lunch menu. I want to know what’s on the school board agenda. I want to know what the budget for the county’s road and bridges fund is buying. I want to know what the hours are at my local public library. I want to know what movies are showing in town and what time they start. I want to know what the phone numbers are for the food bank and what the city bus route map looks like, and if you could give me a decent weather forecast that would be a bonus. Put in the phone numbers for the school, and include the names and contact information for the paper’s editorial staff (not just circulation, advertising and the obit desk, thankyouverymuch). While you’re at it, run the names and district numbers, AT LEAST ONCE A WEEK, of my city councilmen, state legislators, and federal Congresscritters.

I want to have the legal notices in print big enough to read; save the effin’ agate for the blankety-blank stock closing notices, and put the girls’ high school basketball box scores in 10 point or better.

And *damn* your eyes, you editors and reporters and newsroom managers, if a man is shot dead in his front yard in my city and you get the call an hour before deadline, I want to know who he was and where he lived and why he was shot and what the police are doing, and whether I need to be on the lookout for the last vehicle seen in the vicinity — I do NOT want to have it swept under the rug as “oh, that’s just one nig– shooting another one.” If a woman reports a sexual assault, you keep your arrogant crack about “the hooker’s check bounced” up your own piehole and print the description of the suspect and the location of the attack so every other woman in town has a decent warning. It’s not your fracking job to bottle up the news because of the neighborhood where it happens or because your precious advertisers might be boycotted by some Self-Identified-Christian nutcase(s).

Your job is to report the news, and if you do your job right I should know as much about your personal politics and your financial aspirations as I know about the personal politics and financial aspirations of the tape in the videocassette: NOT ONE IOTA, because that’s not what the news is. What the news is is what’s happening, and whether you like what’s happening or not, whether your advertisers are thrilled with your coverage (particularly of them when they’re at fault) or not, doesn’t matter a bit. The news is the news, and your job is to report it. Report all of it that will fit, and don’t frell around with fillers and ‘features’ and canned editorials.

Write the truth. Challenge your readers to think for themselves, don’t spoon-feed them the corporate line. In the long run the world will be better for it and you will have helped.

To which I can only add, pretty much, yeah.

A.