Saturday, December 18, 2010

Yours, Mine and Ours -OR- Flagpole Sitting

Our local silly season opened this past Monday as incumbents and erstwhile challengers began filing petitions to run for local public office. On Wednesday, Pioneer Press, a member/subsidiary of the Sun-Times News Group, officially announced that their edition covering the Proviso/Leyden Township area will cease publication with the December 22 issue. Subscribers will be offered either A)The Sun-times B) a refund or C)they can donate their refund to the STNG charity foundation.

This is the end result of the small media consolidation that marked the 1980s. The Sun-Times gobbled up the holdings of most of suburban Chicago's niche publications.
Content became generic, ADA compliant, zero-depth filler for their advertising. "Reading" the output was not unlike a Where's Waldo search with a 90/10 ratio of ads to syndicated content with no editorial spine and a mere smattering of actual local news transcribed from press releases. Last year, The Proviso Herald masthead replaced several versions of localized papers in the chain. An admission the only real difference was the masthead itself.

Did people stop reading the "local paper" because it stopped covering local news or did STNG stop covering local news because nobody was reading it? I must say that there has been little to no interest in figuring out what happened. I know it has been frustrating for the writers.

So for their second to last issue what remains of the Herald's journalists slapped together a synopsis of what they think they know about how the politics of the Proviso/Leyden areas works. You can read it beginning here with links to further items.

If you'd like to experience the future of information, accept this dare. Begin HERE at the STNG portal and TRY to drill down to the above article. The Pioneer Press
portal is only slightly less obscure.

The obstacles to any sustainable local publication rising from the wreckage are daunting despite the available technologies. The most likely replacement will rise out of the power brokers detailed in the Herald writers' last gasp. Several fledgling publishers operate shoppers, newsletters and psuedo-papers that are largely supported by advertising connected to and supportive of the status quo.

Just another harbinger of Opposite World's "Mission Accomplished". It's theirs. We gave it to them.

1 comment:

amber ladeira said...

Dear Watcher,

I spent most of my work life
employed by publishers doing
advertising sales/writing.
Didn't make a bundle of kale
yet learned a lot, a very acceptable tradeoff.
(For me, anyway.)

My first job at 18 was in the
Chicago Tribune Classified
Dep't., 1965. After that there were:
The St. Paul Dispatch-Pioneer Press,
The Chicago Sun-Times,
Cahners Publishing (40+ trade journals) The Lerner Papers (twice), the Trib again, etc.

I list these because I've sadly watched the dumbing-down, rush to
the bottom in the publishing world,
not to belabor the demise of many
fine periodicals/papers, etc.

Since about 1955, EVERYONE over the age of 18 in America is to blame, worshipping at the altar of fun over becoming informed,
trying to constructively
join the polity. Oh nooo, stop me now, rant running rampant!

I really don't hate technology;
as with absolutley everything else
in life, some moderation required.
Example: Everyone need not rush out and buy every new gadget just
to show off their $$$ and gadget
awareness. Everyone doesn't need
a kindle, but travelers and those on the road can really benefit, saving important packing space, etc.

To our countrymen and women I would
add a new cliche': "It's your values, stupid!"