In other words, theTimes is taking a whack at theTrib by hiring the people whose complacency and abject failure to create a newspaper worth reading made theTrib vulnerable to a whack-taking in the first place.
Your blogger knows something about that complacency because I
labored under Lipinski, O’Shea, and Warren’s “professional editing” at
theTribune for several years, as did my wife. The entire
organization was seized by their collective panic at lowering revenues,
plummeting readership (I quite literally never met aTribune subscriber socially during my five years in Chicago), and frequently aborted frantic attempts todo something—hastily
convened committees to launch new sections produced prototypes that
languished for months and months in sad little piles around the
newsroom as reminders of the paper’s institutional paralysis.
Meanwhile, there were days when the front page consisted almost
entirely of wire copy, when editors picked up two-week-oldLos Angeles Times stories to fill out sections, and when Lipinski reacted to the appearance of a bad word—actually, acheeky, punny reference to a bad word in a headline—by
dragging editors to the printing plant after hours and forcing them to
physically remove the offending section from the next day’s bundled
And then there was the night that, after filing a story on Dan
Rather, I went home to see if it had gotten any blog pick-up. I Googled
for it, only to discover that it hadn’t yet been posted on theTribune‘s web site. But ithad made it to the site of theKansas City Star, which subscribed to theTribune‘s
wires. Lipinski and O’Shea’s paper, in the nation’s third-largest
market, didn’t get the story up until the next morning, because the web
folks had gone home. But Kansas City’s daily managed to get it out
there for them.
Read the whole thing. In addition to fake freakouts over how little money newspapers make, this is the most destructive tendency in the industry: Let’s create something new and exciting to attract readers before we even TRY marketing what we have. And when we create the new thing, we’ll launch it as ineptly as possible and then hope to God no one ever sees it or pays attention to it in any way. When it fails, we’ll lament bloggers and Kids Today as the reason nobody reads anything these days.