Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Sad Day for Community News

It’s a sad day for community news. This morning’s Big Story carries a Milwaukee dateline and splashes this brief-worthy filler across the page: A Wisconsin farmer tears down a shed and finds a rusty box filled with deteriorated dollar bills. The grand sum may be $1,700; once redeemed, the man plans to use the money to help pay for a new shed.

That’s the front page. Over in the local section, the local boxing columnist creams over a night spent watching “full impact wrestling" and the page is dominated by an oversized color photo of the event. That’s not enough coverage, however. Page 7 – a wide-open space that might have carried genuine news – is crammed with five more wrestling photos . Pictures are easier pour, I guess, than asking any of the three local reporters to write real stories about real issues in Our Little Town.
When Old Word Wolf worked at newspapers, editors sat down together each afternoon to discuss the day’s major stories and plan how to allocate space to them. Evidently such budget meetings don't happen at the DeSoto Sun. OWW cannot imagine three adults facing each other around a conference table and seriously agreeing the top story of the day goes to a farmer’s $1,700 find. Neither can she imagine three adults – college-educated editors – would agree the most newsworthy local event – two pages newsworthy – is a noncompetitive, commercial nonsport.

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