Monday, May 07, 2007

James Lileks, Mpls. Star Tribune 

Relaxing with a cup of tea or coffee and reading a paper used to be a pleasant pastime. That idyllic scene disappeared many years ago. Why? The unbelievable bias apparent in so many papers forced me and millions of others to the Internet for a balance of news. Frankly, I prefer the paper and coffee.
Today, after buyouts and requests for changes, another example of the incredible short-sightedness of the paper media displayed itself. The Mpls. Star Tribune (Strib) has a gifted writer in James Lileks. Witty, sharp, clever, etc. , he has his own website and had a regular column and written a few books. So what does the Strib do? They switch him to a local beat.

I called the Strib circulation department (612.673.4343) to voice my concern about the sheer stupidity of this move and reached a real person! I told her I'd be cancelling our subscription except that we'd cancelled it about three years ago. She begged me to contact the reader's rep page and give the same message.

Hello Strib owners: If you want any chance of getting your paper regaining respect, provide some balance. Then again, maybe you need to sell it for a tax loss just as the most recent, previous owner did.

KING ADDS: Of course it's ridiculous. Mitch links to the analysis of Tim Worstall, which I suspect is right. It's a way to say goodbye without saying goodbye (though I doubt the severance package for columnists is that lush.) Hugh and James had a discussion a week ago (wraps around these two hours) on how to fix the newspaper and James' biggest point was "go local on page one." So why not put your best writer on the local beat? Because that's not what he does best. What they need is more input like this.

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