Thursday, June 02, 2005

Oregonian - Your Newspaper?

It's clear that those running the Big O think themselves as a national/regional powerhouse. Outside of here, does anyone really read it or place it in the top ten of must reads on-line?

You can count on the front page to blare, above the fold (but not today), some national or international story, place some interesting local or regional story on its left side column, put a picture in the middle, then put some relatively interesting stories (one lifestyle/medical/people), below the fold.

Above the banner, the story promos (usually one sports headline) and a graphic , and that's it.

Is it enough to get you inside?

We know that the lack of daily competition allows the O to do whatever it wants. It has dozens of reporters on the street, so what standards should we hold it to? What is it doing that works, and what do we need to make it a must read?

Let's get beyond the usual bias posts (liberal/conservative/parochial bent, etc.) and offer up some real posts about what you need in a daily newspaper in your town.

For me, I want more local headlines/stories on the front, a better website (crisper, more focused, easier to get around, more pictures) and more business news off that section's front page to Page One. I also would like to see better education news than the usual test scores, profiles of graduates, etc. And less re-running of Washington Post and NY Times stories, since I've usually read them online (as, I suspect, do lots of people). And a better sports page. On Sundays in the fall, I expect much more coverage of OSU and UO football games than is given us.

I suspect the O does a fair amount of research into what its readers want, but, like the broadcasters, wants younger readers but doesn't know how to get them.

Let's see if we can get a good cross section of ideas. And, of course, we'd love to hear some inside stories on the pressures that makes it look like it does.

47 Comments:

Blogger pdx_photoman said...

Moving back to Oregon from a community whose newspaper was very narrow in its outlook--the daily in one city in which we lived puts a bible verse on the front page--I initially found the Oregonian a pleasant change. (The grass always looks greener when there's any grass at all.)

And then they missed the Packwood story, and I began to understand what others were complaining about.

The Oregonian is too fond of cozying up to power. Its coverage of the issue of public ownership of PGE is Exhibit #1. It very well may be beyond the capacity of the City of Portland to own and operate PGE, but public ownership is not inherently a bad idea. Many communities do it quite successfully. Try finding a story that highlights some of these cities, how they came to own their utilities, and how well they operate them.

Thursday, June 02, 2005 3:16:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with the comments reagrding the big O - I've always felt it runs at about 50% of potential.

I'd be interested to hear our bloggers thoughts though on what the top five papers (both print and online) are in the country.

Thursday, June 02, 2005 3:17:00 PM  
Blogger lisaloving said...

What a thoughtful, constructive question. Until last year, I read the O every morning, had done it for years, felt like I couldn't get on with my day without at least taking in the Metro section. Then one Sunday morning I stood agape at a headline that read: "Goldschmidt Admits Affair with Girl, 14." It seemed like even a rube would realize, looking at that headline, the difference between an affair and a felony. Even a KBOO reporter (snark snark) knows better than that.

First thing, the O needs to keep its opinion pieces off the front page -- see B!X's Portland Communique and BlueOregon for ongoing coverage of this issue. It's a debate that goes on entirely off the O's pages, seemingly. But it's a ticking time bomb.

One more suggestion for the O: Readers aren't stoopid, we have attention spans. We like to read. Give us something to occupy our time, not THE NEWS IN TWO SECONDS column. If I wanted the news in two seconds, I'd watch Happy Good Day Oregon, or whatever it's called.

Example: When you all started that little weekly fashion thing, you put the truly intelligent veteran writer Vivian McInerny in as a staff reporter, under a -- sorry -- babbling, vapid moron as editor. JUST BECAUSE SOMEONE IS 22 YEARS OLD, THAT DOESN'T AUTOMATICALLY MAKE THEM A "YOUNG READER" MAGNET.

The copy was stupid and blurbificated. I wanted to read a well-written story about how these female entrepreneurs build these juicy businesses. What was their vision? Dunno. Nowhere was there any content that a person could actually linger over. Vivian, like many other gifted folks over at O Central, is under-utilized. Give her an assignment she can sink her teeth into, something deep, something that I can't put down. I like to linger; lingering is good. The O's Vapid Fashion Weekly did not linger. (Yet still we love Vivian.)

I do not, repeat do not, wish to engage with a Maggi White, Downtowner-esque clone. Sorry Maggie (full disclosure: I worked at Our Town, and thanks again for giving me a job when I needed one). For the record, Maggi White's vision of local publishing is clearly the standard today, in the O, the Trib, the Merc, even WW -- lots of photos, fashion models, pullquotes and graphic hysteria. Really, Maggi White wins as the most influential force here -- she even printed the first personals, back in the 1970s. Some people blame USA Today. Not me. Maggi was a trailblazer for all that really bugs me.

Maggi, again, I'm sorry to be rude, it's just that I was hoping Portland's journalism would go in a more "New Yorker" direction -- like the Sunday magazine that Jack Hart USED to edit, with brilliant local freelance writers like Bill Donahue (now working for Outside and Mother Jones) writing creative nonfiction pieces about people, places and things we didn't even know existed. (BTW, Jack, we love you man --- but where did that Goldschmidt headline come from?)

O-sters: Stop treating readers like untreated ADDDDDDD sufferers and put in some real content. And keep your opinion pieces off the front page. Those are my suggestions.

Thursday, June 02, 2005 3:25:00 PM  
Anonymous Some guy said...

There's some stunningly good content in the O. Marty Hughly's Sunday piece on the high school jazz band from Beaverton, competing in New York, was wonderful. Most of Tom Hallman's stories, and most of Brian Meehan's, and Susan Nielsen's opinion pieces, are enlightening and well-told. What bothers me is the naked attempt to dial down the demo, pretending to be all edgy and 23rd Avenue and The Pearl and stuff, it's like the O is trying to be the Cool Mom. And sometimes the writing is a little thick: the apparent mandate to tell each story through the eyes of some individual gets in the way of the basic news. I just want to find out what happened, not fight my way through a flabby little novella.

For the Oregonian to attain the national esteem it desires, I think it needs to earn it locally first. They keep getting killed on huge local stories. The Goldschmidt miss, while the memory of Packwood was still fresh, just means they don't have the reportorial or editorial horsepower to run on the fast track. Yet.

Thursday, June 02, 2005 4:36:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Take a look at SeattleTimes.com and see what a newspaper's web site can and should be. The O's website is the worst newspaper site I've seen. Ever. And I surf the web a lot.

Thursday, June 02, 2005 4:55:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I get the O delivered but I don't know why. I guess for Shawn Levy and Randy Gragg.
It is gray. It is boring. It didn't use to be. They got rid of a lot of good people. They gutted the Living Section. They exiled Mark Wigginton.
It's a half-a-paper. I could go on, but why bother?

Thursday, June 02, 2005 5:13:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

One good piece in two years from Hughley? Not enough. He sounds tired and bored. And why not? Wouldn't anyone be? Too many times having to justify the same songs by younger and younger singers. Sounds dreadful and he reflects it.
Why is Foyston not allowed to write any more?
The makeovers for A&E smack of desperation. Grant is no Karen.

Thursday, June 02, 2005 5:17:00 PM  
Anonymous Mikey said...

That top banner has to go. It's a newspaper, not a website. Who leads with commercials? I think it makes the paper look cheap and small-town.

Thursday, June 02, 2005 5:46:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Gonna take a whack at LIVING....a misnomer, as the section really does lack life. Edge is a complete waste....such drivel....overly available to excess on the web.

Cross the page to "bicycle boy"....his helmet and spandex are too tight.....they restrict him from generating enough words to reach the bottom of the page. Lately he seems only able to write about sound-bite new product or new opening news releases.

The O needs today's version of Doug Baker...there's more than enough "dishy stuff" to write about in this town....could fill a 2 column top to bottom space every day....is there anyone in these here parts, with a decent roladex, with abit of irreverence, who could take on City Hall....MCounty....WCounty....Salem...other institutions....business....the arts....entertainment, and give us something really lively, that might get talked about during the rest of the day? The lack is pathetic, for a town as weird as Portland is....so much material....so little attention paid. The Trib and WW do a much better job....O should be ashamed for being so gray. Get a real columnist. Entertain us....puh-leeze.

Flip to page 2....and read the latest dog turd bits on Back Fence....the whining, need-to-get-a-life-folks with their stupid, vapid plites. Kill it now!

Comics made a democratic run at polling readers for their likes and dislikes....dropped a few...added a few, but still too many "nice" strips. Gimme Fusco Brothers....Mallard Filmore....Ballard Street...Shoe....Over the Hedge weekdays. Pull the NYTimes crossword out of classified and put it in Living.

Transfusion!....oxygen!....Living needs some life.

Thursday, June 02, 2005 6:10:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

why caint we get an honest to God dyed in the wool home grown HOME GROWN!!!!!!!!!!! Herb Caen guy for the big O?

Thursday, June 02, 2005 7:14:00 PM  
Anonymous Education Professional said...

As a former resident of the Portland/Metro orbit, who now lives just a little beyond the region's gravitational pull, I continue to be amazed at the O's Portland/Metrocentric approach to presenting the "news." Basically if you don't live within the Urban Growth Boundary you don't much matter, unless of course some heinous crime or unusally popular seasonal event(i.e. the Pendleton Round Up, Mt Angel Oktoberfest, etc.) occurs in your community. The most dominant perspective that comes through in the writing is the, "how does this(event,person, tragedy,trend,social or political issue)" effect everyone in the Portland/Metro area. If it doesn't have a significant impact or represent a potential threat to the long established status quo within the Portland/Metro area it doesn't get a whole lot of attention from the O. This is sad, mostly because their actions do not reflect the title or mission suggested in the masthead at the top of the newspaper. It's titled the, "Oregonian" people, so shouldn't it strive to be a tiny bit more broadly focused and comprehensive in its' coverage of the rest of the state instead of describing people and events from non-Portland areas as if reporters have just returned from a a trip to the moon or other such equally fantastic journey to unexplored territory? There is life beyond Portland. I know, I'm living it out here everyday.

Thursday, June 02, 2005 8:40:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ditto to above on web.
The O web site is the worst newspaper site in the country.

Why is it so difficult to find stories? Why is it so damned ugly? Why have newspapers, which know a thing or two about layouts do such a terrible job when the layout goes electronic?

Unfortunately, the O can't change it. It's a corporate mandate from on high to use their template.
Apparently they are so worried (as most newspapers are) about losing paid readership to the web that they're making their web presence as unpleasant as possible.

Congrats guys. It's working!

Thursday, June 02, 2005 10:21:00 PM  
Blogger MAX Redline said...

I used to subscribe to The Oregonian, but gave it up some time ago. Know what? I don't miss it. At all.

I pick up the Trib every few days; it may be sparse, but it has quality. By contrast, The Oregonian has lots of pages, but no quality. And frankly, I don't have enough bird cages to justify buying even one copy.

Thursday, June 02, 2005 11:30:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Big O's website is run out of New Jersey. The company they use also runs about (last I heard) about a dozen other newspaper's websites. And we can all agree that the layout and format of said website's are absolutely horrific.

Thursday, June 02, 2005 11:43:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

and to add, being a big sports fan and such, the O's sports section does have extremely good writers. The coverage of the Blazer's is pretty damn good (they should be) and Ryan White's coverage of the Ducks is pretty good as well. I can do w/o Rachel Bachman and Ken Goe. If the Trib ever dies, they better get back Egger's if he indeed would comeback.

Thursday, June 02, 2005 11:45:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why is Foyston not allowed to write any more?

Er, Foyston has had more bylines in the last 6 months than anybody else on the Living staff. He had most of the FoodDay cover on Tuesday.

That top banner has to go. It's a newspaper, not a website. Who leads with commercials? I think it makes the paper look cheap and small-town.

Just about every newspaper on the planet has prominent Page One promos. Many of them above the flag. From The Boston Globe to the Toronto Globe and Mail to Le Figaro to Zaman of Instanbul.

Many more here:
http://www.newseum.org/todaysfrontpages/

Friday, June 03, 2005 2:40:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If it is in the New York Times today it will be in the Oregonian tomorrow. A day late a a dollar short seems to be the motto down there. There are a number of stories the "O" could be doing but instead they are leading the pack to nowhere. Medical malpractice has received some attention in the national press and with an estimated 100,000 deaths annually at the top end that would suggest that maybe there are 1000 here in Oregon as well. That certainly should get some one's attention, but the "O" has written around the issue but not dived into it.
Just one of a number to cover that they seem to prefer not to deal with. So I read the NY Times and hope to stay ahead of the "Boys on Broadway"
###

Friday, June 03, 2005 7:32:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I know for a fact that Foyston, for all the little pieces he's had in the paper, is chafing under the the edict that pieces have to be so goddamned short.
Does anybody remember (less than 10 years ago) when the O ran long, well developed stories in its Sunday Living section?
Has anybody noticed that there is no place for those stories to appear in Portland now? Please don't even try mentioning the Portland Monthly.

Friday, June 03, 2005 8:48:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Peter Ames Carlin, the TV critic, hasn't been in the paper since very early this year -- he was one of the few draws the Living section had and they could really use him back.

Friday, June 03, 2005 9:01:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Carlin's on book leave. Back in the fall.

Friday, June 03, 2005 9:11:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Someone asked for five best newspapers in USA. IMHO: Washington Post (Style section best-written anywhere), NYTimes, Chicago Tribune, Wall Street Journal and wonkette!

Ok, so I listed four.

The Oregonian -- better, but still not Top 25.

Friday, June 03, 2005 10:39:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Regarding the O's site. Yes it stinks like a week-old houseguest. The tv station's sites are far better though that's not saying much. And the blogs, well, I'm happy that the 10lb weaklings are muscling their way in! Yeah! Go see the New Orleans Times Picayune and the Cleveland Plain Dealer sites. Templates are all the same and sadly oh so stale.

If there's one thing S.I. Newhouse knows it's how to make money. I guess that custom web sites aren't on his agenda though I'm sure they are or at least will be soon. Print is losing far too many eyeballs not to.

The Wall St. Journal is a suprise success on the web. When they started charging for their online content years ago pundits called them nuts. The WSJ was right; people pay for solid information that is cleanly and clearly presented.

Adios amigos...

Friday, June 03, 2005 10:41:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Oregonian does have the BEST writer in all of Portland:
Chelsea Cain.

You are a goddess!!! I want to sharpen your pencils forever!

Friday, June 03, 2005 10:41:00 AM  
Blogger darrelplant said...

I've been on a campaign for months to get them to stop posting factually incorrect opinion pieces. A quixotic goal, I know, but there have been a raft of op-ed pieces (as opposed to LTEs) published in the last couple of years that simply make up facts. And the op-ed editors keep running with columnists who continue to make the same types of errors. It's one thing to have an opinion about what the facts mean, but there shouldn't be an exemption for columnists to falsify reality.

Personally, as a subscriber, I think that they should still cover world affairs on the news pages. If anything, they should cover it more, but perhaps not simply as wire stories.

Not holding my breath on that one, either.

Friday, June 03, 2005 11:02:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

While Tom Hallman is a terrific writer, he's also a very pretentious individual.

It seems as though The O has been losing reporters over the years and has not bothered replacing them. Wendy Lawton wrote wonderful health and human interest stories and has been gone for some time. In fact, the health team has dwindled from a high of about five to two (Don Colburn and Pat O'Neill), one of whom is almost solely committed to OHSU. Since Boaz Herzog (health business) moved, people have filled in to cover his stories, but no one has formally been assigned to the beat. The tradeoff of “specialists” for “generalists” has been felt.

Friday, June 03, 2005 11:29:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Since the sports section was touched on...the O's coverage of local sports is extremely disappointing. If it is not major (i.e. Blazers, Ducks, OSU Beavers), it doesn't exist in Mr. Peck's eyes. Often times it is like the local teams, like the Portland Beavers, Univ. of Portland or Portland State, don't exist. I have seen them run a wire story for a Portland Beavers home game...in a stadium right across from their print houses!

If I want more national coverage, I can read it online. Give me some local stories on the Beavers, Timbers, Hawks and the small colleges you used to cover 15 years ago.

Friday, June 03, 2005 11:51:00 AM  
Anonymous Mikey said...

I thought Chelsea wrote for the Merc?

http://portlandmercury.com/authors/chelseacain.html

Friday, June 03, 2005 5:24:00 PM  
Anonymous Steve D said...

Ditto to all the comments about their awful website.

I also agree with the poster who mentioned the need for a new Doug Baker. Steve Duin cranks out a few good columns, but that's about it. David Sarasohn is okay, but I don't see what everyone else sees in David Reinhard, politics aside.

But I'll save my most scornful derision for Stephen Beaven's snarky "Back Seat" column. It is utterly vapid. I feel dumber for having read it.

Friday, June 03, 2005 10:29:00 PM  
Blogger Musings Guy said...

I used to subscribe and read the Oregonian daily from age 10 until last year. That is a good ten years and like others, I don't miss it one bit. The sunday NY Times does it for me and picking up the O, checking the headlines and basically reading the whole thing in 7-11 in 5 minutes gets me what I need from their paper. Living is dreadful, Metro is short and boring, the sunday edition has hard hitting stories often but they are too short and rarely take any stand or offer solutions/opinions.

Thank goodness for the internet's sports coverage from many others websites. Sports John Canzano is a good writer and digs into stuff investigative style. He causes controversy, 'what the f is he thinking' from sports fans but he also seem pretty immature. As it stands, he is their best sports columnist and they could stand to use his writing as an example of what direction the paper should head(sort of anyway). With all that said, his column is hit and miss, rarely do I ever think or talk about what he writes after reading and certaintly it's not worth the price to subscribe.

Saturday, June 04, 2005 1:01:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

chelsea writes for the paper's friday a&e section.

Saturday, June 04, 2005 7:21:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

...and she's lame.

Saturday, June 04, 2005 7:49:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anyone who thinks Chelsea Cain's writing is lame has never been paid a dime for their writing, or wishes they had her talent. The deadliest sin in the Big O newsroom, besides adultery, like any newsroom, is envy. Oh, the envy!

Saturday, June 04, 2005 12:37:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've been paid quite a few dimes for my writing. I also believe Chelsea Cain's writing is lame, and not worth the space she is given. It's just another example of the "dumbing down" of the Living and A&E sections of Big O.

Saturday, June 04, 2005 2:08:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, you certainly offer a persuasive critique: it's "lame" writing. I'm utterly convinced....

Saturday, June 04, 2005 3:29:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Screw that, we want to hear about the adultery!

Sunday, June 05, 2005 12:27:00 AM  
Blogger The One True b!X said...

"First thing, the O needs to keep its opinion pieces off the front page -- see B!X's Portland Communique and BlueOregon for ongoing coverage of this issue."

FYI, I have no idea what this means, because I have never said anything about keeping opinion pieces of the front page.

What I have said is that they need to not abuse their control over the op-ed pages, by deliberately tilting discussion of certain stories in the direction of the paper's own editorial opinion.

(Oh, and the outright lies and distortions in their editorials, that would be a good thing to stop as well.)

Sunday, June 05, 2005 9:15:00 AM  
Blogger lisaloving said...

What I have said is that they need to not abuse their control over the op-ed pages, by deliberately tilting discussion of certain stories in the direction of the paper's own editorial opinion.

Okay, pardon my mis-statement of your point.

Blue Oregon has hosted an ongoing discussion of the O's editorial page support of the Joint Terrorism Task Force, which has so far failed to include any opinion pieces AGAINST the JTTF, even though Randy Leonard is on record as having submitted at least one, which remains unpublished there.

Monday, June 06, 2005 6:29:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Old habits die hard. I've been reading the local newspaper since I was a kid (The Oregon Journal in those days), and am now 35. It's become such deeply ingrained, subconcious behavior that I can't seem to stop, even though I know I should. The Oregonian, after all these years, certainly doesn't deserve my time or money.

Not that they don't do some good things. I think the Sunday paper is generally interesting. I look forward to Randy Gragg's pieces. Some of their in-depth work, whether on the mentally ill or migrant farm workers is solid and informative, and occasionally there is a story or series, like David Stabler's pieces on cello prodigy Sam Johnson a few years back, that are truly inspired writing and storytelling.

But for the most part, The Oregonian is exceedingly dull, gray, and corporate. Most days I can skim the paper in a few minutes and not feel I missed anything. The Living section is completely vapid, save for Peter Ames Carlin. I think their coverage of the Ducks (my team)and Blazers usually covers all the bases, but anyone who has ever read an out-of-town newspaper should know how skimpy and insubstantial this sports section is on the whole. The Front pages / Metro / Business seem to be heavy on wire copy, and as other posts have mentioned, the website is just dreadful.

But being the only daily in a major metropolitan area, they can apparently get away with this half-ass effort, and still bring in the money hand over fist. What a shame.

Monday, June 06, 2005 7:17:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The paper continues its rolling overhaul of sections. And, as a truly mass media, it's never going to please everyone (people love the New York Times? I'm pretty sure that a number of newspapers also thrive right under the nose of the world's greatest paper....i.e. nothing is going to be everything to everybody).

The Oregonian's A&E section is an entertaining flip-through and reason enough to pull the paper off the doormat Friday mornings. And the Travel section, of all things, has benefited greatly from its recent facelift. The paper still runs the fantasy travel spreads, but now does a much better job of covering the region (i.e. places people might actually go in the next couple weeks).

The mail-in (!) reader poll that the O conducted recently found that the 600+ who filled out ballots and stuck a stamp on them want more national and international news. Of course, if the paper does that, then it's filling the pages with wire stories (another prevalent peeve).

Sure, the paper has great writers, great reporters (who are NOT great writers), and its share of people punching the clock. I think newspapers are like any huge organization...some folks are going to work harder than others. And some realize that there aren't many places to go from here...the money and benefits are just good enough, and it's a nice place to live to boot.

One thing I am interested in watching for is the forthcoming ALL NEW Sunday Arts section. The committee to redo it has been at it for awhile, although I don't know what the ETA is on its relaunch.

Someone earlier complained of the atrophying space for longer features. One antidote to that is the inPortland feature; pieces on Alberta and housing were longer and well-written. That section in particular is a chance for writers to step out from under the inverted pyramid.

And to the individual who griped about BackSeat and Steve Beaven...are you really that irate about it? I think it's pretty funny, and a fair sight better than Back Fence (ugh).

Lastly: they killed Barbara Durbin's Mailbag in the FoodDay? I don't even cook but I enjoy it (readers writing in looking for old recipes). One of the best end-of-year features is the questions wrap up...one year it included such priceless questions as
1. How many M&Ms do I need for a pinochle party of 30?
2. Is ground beef that I've been storing in the cabinet for 2-3 days safe to eat? What if I already did?

Maybe an occasional and productive topic for this site might be a pile-on, section by section. Sort of like the late PDXS paper's "Hack Attack" feature (did Jim Redden write that, or was it someone else?)....

Monday, June 06, 2005 9:16:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hack Attack was D. K. Holm

Monday, June 06, 2005 10:08:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What exactly do you miss about Peter Ames Cartlon? He seems mostly interested in going on network press junkets.Actually, I don't think he can even see the TV, his nose is so high in the air.
I've never lived in such a big city that has no print coverage of local TV and radio. He doesn't understand ratings, has no interest in local talent or programming, and apparently doesn't even watch the local newscasts.
The best writer at the Oregonian is Amy Martinez Stark, in obits. She writes great life stories, with humor and insight. The stories are warts and all, without ever being disrepectful or unkind. I can only hope that if she's still around when my time comes up, she thinks I'd make good copy.

Monday, June 06, 2005 4:56:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'd like to see more diverse local copy.

This schizomix of writing from either the "Portland power elite" or "I wish I were hip West Side Pearl cool" atttitude has to stop. Neither vision is particularly interesting, nor particularly true to most people I see and live near and interact with. Their either trying to be the Cool Mom or the Trendy Bitch You Hate, and it's disconcerting to see them both on the same page.

The paper loves the institutional viewpoint, and it shows, and it make the copy boring and stale. Even the inPortland seems to be falling toward that trap. Write from the point of view of the people, not the authorities/organizations that the people chafe against on a daily basis.

Guess it's just the Newhouse way... love the status quo, demand mediocrity except from the revenue, write more and more advertorials (oh yeah, we loved the PmS fashion/ad weekly and are glad it's gone) and keep revisiting and redesigning and reformatting the look and the presentation -- even when that's not what's broken.

It's fascinating that so many people say there's no good place for long, interesting, incisive, creative nonfiction anymore, but Jack seems to be being marginalized more and more and the prevailing newsroom attitude is that long pieces suck cuz they're long. And the prevailing newsroom movement is toward shortening even the long Sunday pieces, when it wasn't the length that made many of them no-so-readable.

I would welcome long pieces about stuff I didn't know about. About local topics that maybe I did know something about, but that gave a new, fresh, sharp look at what was really going on with them. Seems like The O is too frightened of pissing off the powers that be to offer much in the way of sharp or fresh.

It's a shame, but in a one-daily town, there's not much reason for them to do a shitload better.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005 2:30:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

At the least, limit Jack Ohman to local issues. While a passable artist, his visual "rip and read" interpretations of the NYT playbook are excruciatingly boring - and often factually wrong. The O would do better with Callahan's take on local politics.

Friday, June 10, 2005 9:28:00 AM  
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