Sunday, January 31, 2010

Macbeth: Ambitious or politician?

Yes! Both! Neither! Of all the clueless techniques the good Lord hath given us to sum up a news story with, the Freep may have finally maxed out today.

No, really. I do think there's a case to be made that most of the ills downtown these days result from being one layer short. Whatever the minimum number of eyes (or reads, or "touches") a story needs to have before it goes from screen to print, the Freep is always one measure behind. The 1A hed above from today is an obvious example. Here are a couple from yesterday's paper:

She also called for shorter prison terms for convicted felons, new ethics rules and docking the governor and Legislature a day’s pay for each day a budget isn’t ap­proved by July 1. (1A; "she" is the governor, Jennifer Granholm.)

The number of people who want to use marijuana for med­ical purposes — and are re­quired to get a doctor’s ap­proval — is swelling. (2A; readers will have to do their own cross-tabulation)

This is painfully routine stuff, and it's the sort of thing that's usually stopped -- or used to be, back when newspapers read stuff before publishing it -- a long way before it gets to the reader. Whatever the last line of defense is supposed to be at the Freep, it evidently isn't there any more. If your goal is to make yourself essential to the reading audience, do you think you might want to consider bringing it back? Just a thought, I mean.


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