There Goes The Sun...(and The Post) ~ Annapolis Capital Punishment

Thursday, October 2, 2008

There Goes The Sun...(and The Post)

When I was employed by our grand and glorious city for eight years, and in other capacities, I worked with many different reporters at The Sun, The Capital and The Washington Post. I consistently found the Sun's reporters to be the most professional and most proficient at their jobs. But today I just shake my head and wonder every time I pick up The Baltimore Sun. What once was two local papers-- the somewhat high-brow Sun and its poorer cousin the Evening Sun, then joined together (was it before or after vanquishing their competitor-The News American???), went through a few different owners--or they went through it to become today's paper. Recently it has become less "newsy" and more "cutesy". It is sliding into irrelevance. However, in Baltimore you'll see a host of lively and unusual newspapers and magazines in boxes all over the city ranging from the Examiner to The Urbanite and The City Paper.

But whither The Sun?

The news hole is shrinking as is the staff. The new design is heavy on photos--lots of them, big ones, but not so much news. Tastes great. Not so filling. Stories are shorter and the whole paper seems lighter in every way. And why do they put those huge photos of the reporters with the articles? Simple. The few reporters that are left get their photo as a consolation prize for having remained. Perhaps readers like the "cutesy" personalization. I think a byline is fine thank you.

Witness today's Arundel section. The entire area above-the-fold consisted of an article about how this weekend's Kunta Kinte Festival suffered from a low turnout. The biggest news--was no news? But it gets worse. The article was short but it came with five photos. Five of them! That's almost unheard of in journalism. Five color photos for one story--and guess what they emphasized? The poor turnout of course--oh, and two of them featured face-painting. Why do newspapers gush about face painting? Is that all they can find to photograph? See it for yourself, including the photos (the best one of the dancer jumping, was not printed) at: kuntakinte

By the way, on today's cover of The Washington Post today, they posted a large photo of a girl to illustrate that today is the end of Ramadan. Yeah. That's real front page news. The entire world is free-falling into a depression, the two vp candidates are debating tonight, and the Washington Post decides that the big cover photo is about the end of Ramadan. Some might call that pandering.....among other things.

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