Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Prescott Media Watch

There's a new(s) blogger in town; his mission is Courier-watching. And critiquing. A fine entertainment for Steve as well as his readers. A blog sure beats letters to the editor as a way to get heard on a regular basis, though it probably doesn't reach nearly as many folks out there. Criticism may improve the writing style of our paper; I question whether it will have any impact on treatment of local sacred cows that the editor dare not touch.

Picking on the local newspaper is a time-honored tradition and by no means confined to the shortcomings of small town journalism. When I was young and a copy girl on the long-lamented Chicago Sun, everybody carried on about Col. McCosmic and his Chicago Tribune: his politics, of course, but also his hang-up on spelling reform (fotograph, anyone?) Nonetheless, any time one of Marshall Field's hand-picked crew got an offer from the Trib, he/she jumped at it. The colonel paid twice as much as the guild papers in town. Oh, yes -- politics aside, the Trib's local coverage was also a lot classier. We had a Hearst paper to pick on, but its problem was merely that it was tacky and on the way out.

Curiously enough, I would guess that right now the Courier is in better shape financially than 2007's Chicago Tribune, which was just sold, or possibly the Arizona Republic, which appears to be cutting back. Is the Internet doing what TV failed to accomplish? Consider those classified ads, whose role is being undercut by the on-line likes of Craig's List. The classifieds kept pumping $$$ into newspaper tills over the years even as national display advertising migrated to the tube. No more.

It has to do with that old truism: the classified, like all news, is local. And good, bad or mediocre, local is why I read the Courier. And ReadItHere. And the Yellow Sheet. And Monsoon. And those slick-paper magazines that pop up periodically. (Right now Yavapai Woman and Yavapai.) Yep, I'm a print junkie...

But I also link over to Coyote Radio, The Truth PV (even more critical of our local press than the new kid on the block), and now Courier Watch. To find out what's happening in my world, a world I can enjoy here and now and possibly influence -- as opposed to Everywhere Else, where I'm just one more atom. If I want to get the feel of the real world out there, I read local blogs from Elsewhere. They are written by people who are firmly anchored in their own piece of the earth -- and it shows.

(Note: I may have spoken too soon about the health of the Courier. When I consulted the Google for the Craig's List URL, I discovered CL had recently opened new Prescott and Flagstaff editions. The link above is to the local version!)

11 comments:

Steve G said...

I'm not a paper junkie, but I do enjoy reading the Stars & Stripes. It can be downloaded free, but I prefer to have the hard copy. Perhaps too much military news for most folks, but there is international news and the sports section.

coyoteradiotheater said...

Hi J,

Thanks for the shout-out and link for Coyote Radio.

As a former PNI reporter/photographer, I read Steven's CourierWatch blog and I get a refreshing feeling of "well Courier, you know someone's reading . . . and you know they care passionately about journalism - does this make you want to step it up or does it make you feel defensive - "Shut up and buy your paper, consumer"?"

Hopefully, they can overcome their uneviable (in terms of excellence) position of being unopposed as a daily publication. A monopoly is rarely a call to greatness, course. Well only time and reading CourierWatch will tell.

Steven Ayres said...

Thanks, Granny! I do care about journalism, but with a local daily, I care even more about the public trust and the constitutional responsibility of the press to inform voters and give them the information they need to make good civic decisions. This probably looks like wild-eyed idealism to some, but I really don't think it's that hard to do.

Granny J said...

Steve #1, curiously enough, I've never seen a copy of the S&S...

Mr. CoyoteRT & Steve#2, perhaps you've never had an everyday, non journalista reader patronize you, saying "Of course, I understand. [pat,pat]You can't write anything that would offend an advertiser." My early training was to put on the publisher hat when a question of idealism came up, to at least try to figure out a way to serve more than one master.

Lucy said...

This blog really is a class act, GrannyJ - this post is a keen pleasure to read because of how sharp and experinced you are in this area, and I do like what you say about things on a local level, and being 'just one more atom' Everywhere Else, and reading blogs to get closer to Elsewhere.
But I've had a great time reading and looking at everything you've done since I was last here; that Canon Powershot was a good acquisition wasn't it? My favourite pictures were of your mother's hands and the Easter eggs, and the seashells and the copper mine. Though the balloons (poor Max!)and the skateboard park were really good too, and...

Granny J said...

Thank you, thank you, Lucy. This particular post was definitely not as much fun to pull together as the previous few, of course. At my age, I've grown suspicious of almost all abstractions; local plants one's feet firmly on (if not in)the ground. As for the camera -- I've got my first decent bird photos (by blowing up a small piece of a larger pic) and discovered I could even see the ants at work on my favorite ant hill in a blow-up! Love it!

Granny J said...

Hi -- I just trashed another comment by Alex, who's peddling nostrums in a big way & sneaks his spam in under the Sitemeter radar, to boot. Bad Alex.

Lane said...

Well, I'm currently in the middle of a Horace Greely obsession since staying in a B&B in Florence, AL (over Easter) owned by his great, great nephew. Quite the writer and editor in a very interesting period of our history. I'm reading his autobiography at the moment. The humor and phrase turning are delightful...not a Horace there in town, I guess?

Granny J said...

No, no really interesting local columnist or such. We've had a couple in the past. Budge Ruffner and Bill Parks come to mind. After you finish with Greeley, it's time for Lincoln Steffens. Such a sharp guy & then he was taken in by the Russian revolution. He saw the future and it worked.

Unfortunately, not.

Sprite said...

Online media is wonderful. But, there's something about those hard-copy pieces of paper. Those books. The tangible. I love Amazon.com, but there's nothing like taking a personal trip to the nearest Borders or small-town bookstore! Ahhh... the smell and feel of new books and magazines. Sigh. Is this an illness? LOL! I liked your reference to the city/hometown blogs where you said, "They are written by people who are firmly anchored in their own piece of the earth -- and it shows." Oh dear Lord, may mine someday be so evident!

Granny J said...

Welcome, Sprite. I agree with you about holding pieces of paper in one's hands. Maybe someday, the ebook will be as comfy as a good book which one can carry to the beach... a park bench ... the patio ... the bus. Wherever. I'm inclined to doubt it! Label me Luddite in this instance. BTW, I didn't expect Honolulu! It's hard to think of such an exotic place as a hometown!

 
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