As readers flee to alternative sources of information, or to no information at all, because newspapers haven’t been able to deliver much that readers find useful or compelling, the Record of Hackensack has identified the core of the problem, and is addressing it head on, with great courage and wisdom.
What newspapers need to make them more useful and compelling, according to the Record’s obviously airtight and unassailable marketing survey, is to get rid of their “liberal bias.” And rather than waste a lot of time hiring crackerjack reporters and editors and setting them loose on the community to tell stories that the people of Hackensack could not possibly ignore, the Record is hauling editors into meetings with the marketing staff, where they will be schooled in the art of wringing every last bit of potentially controversial substance from their stories. I’m sorry, I mean from their “product.” And we all know — from those same kinds of marketing surveys — that if you offer news stories that don’t make anyone angry, readers will start beating down the newsroom doors for more. They just can’t get enough watered-down mush. The survey said so!
Similar surveys also tell us that people want better schools, and that they don’t want to pay for them through higher taxes. Those might sound like contradictory notions, but they are nonetheless true. You might not like it, but “the research is sound.” Don’t you dare argue! And if you write a news story about schools and taxes, don’t mention anything about how quality costs money. That’s “biased,” you filthy liberal!
As far as the imperiled future of newspapers, I’m not sure what the big mystery is. The answers are all right there in the Record’s memo.
Is there a liberal slant to The Record’s news coverage? A number of readers who participated in recent telephone interviews with our market research team said they think there is.
The focus of interviews conducted over 10 days in March centered on what “jobs” readers want fulfilled by The Record. “Tell me the truth” stood out as a key job, but several readers added that they want the truth objectively – not from a reporter’s personal angle. That led to expanded conversations.
“A good portion of these people feel The Record is politically liberal,” said Joe Ferrara, market research manager. “Some of that may mirror a broader perception about media generally having a political agenda. But some people made the distinction between The Record’s editorial pages and news content, saying ‘Your opinion pages are sneaking over into your news articles’.”
Sneaking over. Under cover of darkness, perhaps, with little helmets covered in leaves and sticks so as to escape detection as they cross the river. Seriously, this guy says this, right out loud, and appears from context to have no clue how completely and totally insane it sounds.
But it’s Craigslist, don’t you know, that’s really ruining the Golden Age of newspapers.