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March 16th, 2009

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10:04 am - I am cranky
The Metro paper's slow descent into madness continues today with the headline about how YOUR TAXPAYER DOLLARS are funding a commuter rail initiative to build tunnels under the right-of-way for turtles (don't come crying to me, I'm from a town where we built tunnels for endangered salamanders and a band was named after them and so as far as I'm concerned, happy breeding amphibians = good and flattened squashed up amphibians = bad.) The headline reads "SHELL SHOCK".

Combined with last week's "BERN IN HELL" headline regarding the Madoff sentencing, the Metro is trying its darndest to sound like the NY Post or Boston Herald day by day. Puns sell papers, don't they? Even if it's a free daily? Let's not be delusional here, Metro.

Nobody chooses the Metro for its snappy pun-filled headlines. They do so for one or more of these reasons:
  • It was free
  • Some guy at the T stop was handing them out so I instinctively took one
  • It was lying on the train seat next to me
  • There was a puddle of something on the seat next to me so I used the copy on the floor to cover it
  • I get off on rehashed AP articles and unfunny comic strips
For added fun, one of the headlines on the sidebar read something like "Playboy Model Reminds Kim of Herself." I'm sure this was in reference to some snarky gossip column or possibly a celeb interview in the entertainment section, but man! Nothing like throwing a little context on your front page, eh? Or at least a headline that doesn't resemble an Onion line. At least throw us a bone and give "Kim" a last name so we know who the hell we're dealing with here.

Teasers on the front page ought to make a reader want to go to there because "I want to know what happened" or "I want to know more about what happened" and not because "I want to know what in the hell they're talking about." Oh, hell. Does it really matter anymore? Probably not. We'll be seeing teasers soon that say things like "OMG!! Page 14" or perhaps simply just "Page 8" and nobody will care either way.

You'll pardon me for weeping soft for the sad state of the newspaper industry because I finally started in (no spoilers now, it's new to me!) on Season 5 of The Wire and part of the story arc involves the Baltimore Sun and its fishwrappy problems. It's depressin' all around, and it's too early for whisky.

(11 comments | Leave a comment)


[User Picture]
Date:March 16th, 2009 04:10 pm (UTC)
I choose the Metro because it has brain numbingly easy sodoku!
[User Picture]
Date:March 16th, 2009 04:23 pm (UTC)
the NY Post or Boston Herald

Aw, the NY Post isn't that bad.

I just started S5 of the Wire myself. Newspapers seemed like an odd focus, but apparently David Simon worked for the Sun himself BITD and parted on bad terms, and this is his revenge.
[User Picture]
Date:March 16th, 2009 06:25 pm (UTC)
Baltimore Sun is part of the bankrupt Tribune Company. Their better-known papers are the Chicago Tribune and the Los Angeles Times.
[User Picture]
Date:March 16th, 2009 06:37 pm (UTC)
There's mention made of this on The Wire. There's also mention made of layoffs, Baltimore being a slow news town, and all sorts of stuff. The storyline now is teetering towards a real-life incident at the Washington Post, but I am hoping things don't parallel this one too much.

And yeah, David Simon was one heck of a cop beat writer, and his work at the paper directly inspired his book, his first miniseries The Corner and then the full-fledged Wire series. He knows his stuff and his characters shine because of it.
[User Picture]
Date:March 16th, 2009 06:49 pm (UTC)
What was the real-life incident at the Post?

I've never watched this TV show, but maybe I should start. Since it's a serial, will it make any sense whatsoever to me if I start now?

(Oops, now I see that it's on HBO, which I don't get. Oh well.)

Edited at 2009-03-16 06:51 pm (UTC)
[User Picture]
Date:March 16th, 2009 09:43 pm (UTC)
(Hopefully keeping spoilers here to a minimum)

In Episode 2 in Season 5, a frustrated city desk writer is sent to cover the Orioles opening day. We watch as he can't find a single subject to interview for a human interest piece, but he comes back with a sad story about an inner-city kid in a wheelchair who skipped class to come to the game but couldn't get a ticket from the scalpers. He only has a first name to go by and no pictures of the youth. The city desk editor is very skeptical, but a senior editor tells him to run it anyway.

I don't know what happens from here (going to watch Ep 3 tonight) but it's very reminiscent of Janet Cooke's fake story of the 8-year-old heroin addict which won her a Pulitzer before being debunked.

It's an incredible television series -- depressing at times, uplifting at others, and there's just so many interconnected characters and storylines. This does mean you have to watch from the beginning pretty much to get the entire scope. That's what I've been doing, actually; watched Seasons 1 through 4 again before I got in on 5. I don't have HBO. The seasons are all out on DVD, though, so if you're Netflixing you may want to add the first DVD of Season 1 to your queue and see what you think.

Edited at 2009-03-16 09:46 pm (UTC)
[User Picture]
Date:March 16th, 2009 09:59 pm (UTC)
Also reminds me of the Patricia Smith affair at the Globe back in 1998.
[User Picture]
Date:March 16th, 2009 05:32 pm (UTC)
You forgot the other amazing headline from today's front page, "Busta Rhymes still busting rhymes".
[User Picture]
Date:March 16th, 2009 06:40 pm (UTC)
Meanwhile, poor McD Worka has consigned himself to his inevitable post-rap career fate.
Date:March 16th, 2009 05:39 pm (UTC)
I only grab the Metro for the crossword... and to giggle at how very, very bad the paper is.
[User Picture]
Date:March 18th, 2009 02:20 am (UTC)
At least throw us a bone and give "Kim" a last name so we know who the hell we're dealing with here.

But everybody knows they mean Kim Jong Il!

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