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Columns axed by our publisher

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Clever username, Aug 30, 2006.

  1. Pringle

    Pringle Active Member

    Should it matter so long as he's not naming his paper/
  2. EE94

    EE94 Guest

    you know the old saw about opinions being like assholes ...

    the difference is informed opinion.

    I agree that a local columnist at a small paper shouldn't weigh in on "national" issues, mostly because it's likely the research into the subject matter is gleaned from other reports, not original reporting.

    So it becomes editor of Podunk Press weighs in on the Floyd Landis story with either a) nothing original beyond the opinion to contribute and/or b) not localizing the story (local cycling club, whatever)

    and you can always find column material, you just have to look beyond the obvious and be curious
  3. Starman

    Starman Well-Known Member

    Bingo. Pete Prephack's opinion on the New York Yankees is no more informed than Buddy Barstool's down at the local watering hole.

    "Couch columns" are the bane of print journalism. If you didn't go to an event, nobody gives a shit what you think of it.
  4. Frank_Ridgeway

    Frank_Ridgeway Well-Known Member

    Not trying to give you a hard time, but at what point does a paper become large enough to opine about national issues? Bad for a 60K, OK for a 100K? Bad for a 100K, OK for a 200K? I know of one sub-30,000 daily that had a Washington correspondent, at least last time I saw it. So are they more qualified to comment about national issues than the 80,000 paper that doesn't have anyone in Washington?

    How many papers staffed the Tour de France, especially with no Lance? And seriously, I could not possibly care less what local cyclists have to say on the matter. The localizing thing is usually lame -- news that is of huge interest to people all over the world will be compelling to OUR yokels only if we find a few local people to opine off the tops of their heads?

    Once I read the news story about Landis flunking a drug test, I didn't feel even The New York Times could offer an interesting opinion on it once they said the obligatory: "Bad dog!" The column is predictable no matter who writes it. Even if someone were to take the opposite point of view, that Landis did what a lot of us would do, it would seem that the opinion writer was just trying to be contrary, as so many of them seem to do about other issues.

    Our problem is that when we budget opinion into the daily product, it's imperative for opinion writers to express an opinion even though on most days there is little beyond the obvious for them to say. This is why I think eventually we will stop running opinion -- waste of space on stuff not many people find provocative anyway.
  5. Ace

    Ace Well-Known Member

    What about if you sit in the press box, never go to the locker room, and write a column from the event? Is that better than watching on TV?
  6. Frank_Ridgeway

    Frank_Ridgeway Well-Known Member

    What about the columnist who doesn't go near a team until the postseason and all of a sudden he's the most prominent voice on the subject? It's not the columnist's fault, entirely -- he's expected to be at an important event whether he knows the sport or not. What about the columnist in a major market with many pro and college teams who, even if he works very hard, cannot do more than parachute in once a week? Are his opinions informed, more insightful than the fan who has watched every inning for the whole season? Will he look informed in the eyes of the readers?
  7. Almost_Famous

    Almost_Famous Active Member

    Not at an event so don't write about it?

    Surely people didn't attend the NBA finals and wrote about it.
    Surely people didn't attend the French Open and wrote about it.
    Tour de France ...
    NHL Finals ...

    I'm not talking about an off-the radio/tv column, I'm talking about a mid-series/race/tournament column while not being in the country/city.

    If that's the case, NOBODY can write about Team USA. And ESPN shouldn't keep saying on air during the World Championships, 'here in Japan ...' or wherever because, well, ESPN isn't there.
  8. Pringle

    Pringle Active Member

    I feel like a few people here are kind of playing dumb/devil's advocate. You know what kind of columns we're talking about - Johnny Prepwriter "taking on" T.O., that sort of garbage.

    And I think that you can opine on a national topic if you cover that sport - so if there is a national college football issue, the Ann Arbor News should can credibily columnize about it, but should probably leave the NFL/MLB/NHL stuff alone, for the most part. Just an example.

    Frank - That's why I said I like the stuff written by national writers or beat guys, the "analysis" pieces, better than the opinion columns by drive-by big names.
  9. dooley_womack1

    dooley_womack1 Well-Known Member

    I bet it matters to the publisher, who may be inclined to fire malcontents, and to "clever username," who could be considered a malcontent if his real name is tied to the username. The paper in question could surely tell from this that they have an employee venting about them, tho we don't know the paper. That is why talking about your own paper's specific situation is usually not smart.
  10. slappy4428

    slappy4428 Active Member

    Not at the Final Four in St. Louis, don't write about it...
  11. Starman

    Starman Well-Known Member

    No, that's much worse, because if you sit up in the press box, you could go and talk to the principals involved -- unless you refuse to.
  12. Frank_Ridgeway

    Frank_Ridgeway Well-Known Member

    That's pretty much the way it was done until Dick Young ventured down, isn't it?
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