Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Perot prizes

Wow, was it that long ago? The grisly series of wars that followed the collapse of federal Yugoslavia? Is that when Ross Perot gave us the phrase "giant sucking sound"? Allowing us to avoid excess headline vulgarity and still describe the noise your newspaper made if it didn't front Radovan Karadzic's arrest today? Yeah, it must have been. So let's assign some grades.

Down in the F range are outstanding founts o' knowledge of the sort Old Word Wolf describes: no Balkans anywhere in the paper, but good play for the toe-sucking-carp* feature.

If you managed to get the arrest in the paper (at the Freep, it was the lead world brief on 8A, unless you count the photo of the World Santa Claus Congress) but nowhere near the front, you've earned a gentleperson's D. Columbus, Fort Worth -- you might have given the story a good ride on 2A, but we can't tell from the front page that you've heard of the rest of the planet.

If Karadzic is the last reefer on the front page -- the afterthought that would have fallen off if somebody had only had the decency to throw a no-hitter -- you're in the C range. Sacramento, C- not just for expecting "Fugitive arrested" to make the grade, but for that stupid feature above the reefers. ("Battle brews between beer giant, small makers over freebie swag"? Please.) Indianapolis gets rid of the minus sign with "War-crimes suspect is arrested."

How thoroughly has grade inflation been loosed upon the world? Cleveland gets a B for actually putting world news at the top of its 1A reefer column. If you put a reefer high on the front and actually dressed it up with a photo or otherwise suggested you might want people to read it, call your parents and tell 'em it's a B+. (Twinge of conscience there at Trade and Tryon?)

And if you ran a frontpage story, take an A and enjoy it. Little Rock, we expected no less. Raleigh -- pleasant surprise! (Though why y'all gave 1A play to the right-wing huffy-puffy over the NYT's daring to ask McCain to rewrite his alleged op-ed piece ... wow, who in the Wake County Republican Party has a picture of the McClatchy CEO with a sheep?)

It'd actually hurt to go through and count up all the papers that managed to get a mug shot of a jalapeno at the top of the front. Or the ones that found a way to use yet another publicity still from yet another movie about yet another comic book character. Is that the best you guys can do by way of making your paper irreplaceable in my life? Because it really isn't working very well.

* I actually know somebody who wrote a song about this. Well, more or less.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Do you want to distinguish between those "A" recipients who put it above vs. below the fold?

2:01 AM, July 23, 2008  
Anonymous Fort Worth said...

And our 1A refer was swapped in at the last minute.

12:58 PM, July 23, 2008  
Blogger fev said...

Nah, I'm inclined to leave all the A's as A's. Cuts down on kvetching from the B+ crowd, if nothing else.

FW, canst clarify? Swapped another refer in for Karadzic at the last minute, or swapped Karadzic in for a late edn at tne last minute?

8:21 PM, July 23, 2008  
Blogger Denise said...

We had the story downpage on 4A. And a mug of a jalapeno out front.

I tell myself that if we didn't get a new executive editor that day, Karadzic's mug would have replaced his in the 1A refer rail. But that's just what I tell myself. I'm pretty sure, from the downpage Nation & World play, it never even entered the discussion.

5:28 PM, July 26, 2008  

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