Readers Don’t Subscribe to Their Ideas

There is a pathetic plea in this morning’s CA.

It comes from the editor. The headline reads: “Why The CA keeps asking you to subscribe.”

If it were a good newspaper and he a good editor, that request would not be necessary. Memphians would – as they used to – subscribe wholeheartedly to something that provides news and valuable information on your doorstep every day.

Even in the days of the internet, a quality journalistic effort in paper form would command loyal readers. People are interested in the goings on of their neighborhood. We all want to know about crime, births, deaths, events, business transactions and opportunities here.

That’s not what we’ve been getting from the CA for years.

No more can you find news of record like births, divorces, property transfers, etc. The leadership deems that unnecessary. They overlook the fact that often stories can be gleaned from the basic facts. They don’t even want to list deaths daily unless someone pays a substantial amount. Sometimes the death notice appears a week after the death. That is ridiculous.

As for crime and crime statistics, you can forget that. Unless it is a big name involved in a crime or something particularly heinous, the CA refrains from discussing it much at all. Perhaps they are afraid of the racism charge. Perhaps they want to downplay anything that looks bad on their preferred elected officials.

In any case, crime is something that doesn’t get the attention it deserves.

Another problem with the CA is their obsession with Republican politicians, especially the ones in Nashville. They will find anything that can smear one and are not happy until a scalp is in hand. It is clear they are after DA Amy Weirich locally as they pepper papers with stories putting her in a bad light. Even though many dirty deeds are done by Democrats, you can forget much mention of that.

Just look at the way they portray President Trump. They will find something in everything he does to criticize and carp.

Issues? They only matter if they buttress liberal thinking on immigration, climate change, race relations, economics or culture. You’d be hard pressed to find much conservative viewpoint even on the editorial pages.

As for editing, the CA has gotten remarkably sloppy. People are incorrectly identified, not identified, with wrong headlines and cutlines. Readers see those errors and correctly assume other errors have occurred, too. It hardly supports the idea of journalistic integrity when they don’t even care about their own accuracy.

Editor Russell’s arguments for subscription mention the high cost of covering stories in depth (most of which are too long and too opinionated). He writes, “We need your support to continue doing watchdog journalism, compelling beat coverage and, of course, traveling with the Tigers’ basketball team.”

Used to be advertisers paid for much of the cost of a newspaper. That’s the real problem for them. They can’t get enough ad revenue, particularly after newspapers lost the classified ads to the internet.
Frankly, I can’t remember when the paper did honest “watchdog journalism” or “compelling beat coverage.” Can you?

He continues, “The CA newsroom is full of talented, hungry journalists eager to tell the story…” What he doesn’t say is that the talent got the hell out of there and went to the Daily Memphian or some other place because they saw the downsizing slide.

The piece ends with the editor quoting a former editor of his who said “journalists are on the front lines of history and they get a front row seat to the good, the bad and the unusual. I feel that way every day in Memphis.

“I hope you’ll join the ride.”
On a mad roller coaster careening out of control? No thanks, especially when the cost of that ride is outrageously high. And when I can get better coverage for free on Nextdoor, blogs and TV coverage.

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