If you read only one blog full of ranting and raving about sports (local and otherwise), movies, TV shows, miscellaneous pop culture, life and other assorted flotsam and jetsam, make it this one!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

My Issues With The Daily News

A number of things have me wondering whether I want to continue my subscription to the Philadelphia Daily News after it expires in September. Most recently there was this...

Bavel Pure?
and there was this...

...and this (to the left and right of the "NEWS" banner)...

...and these others...

"your" riding?

LeSean Jackson?
Texas won the World Series?

As you can see, these go back a couple of years. And this is just the tip of the iceberg. The articles themselves are sometimes sloppy. There's the increasingly more frequent spelling errors, of course, There are others, though, such as articles that continue on another page except something's missing or duplicated.

Examples just from the June 15 paper, which I saved because it was a particularly rough issue...a U.S. Open golf tourney story: "Thompson carded seven birdies, including a 10-footer on the 18th hole, and posted an unreal total of 22 putts. The former star at" -- then it's continued on the next page: "and that's fine with him." An article on the city's property tax changes being debated in City Council: "The legislation also states that AVI will" -- continued on page 14: "islation also states that AVI will be implemented in the 2013-2014 fiscal year." The "Philly Clout" column: "They slammed Maher for say-" continued on page 26: "They slammed Maher for saying on his show..." You get the idea. 

Twice in the last week or so, the reports on the prior day's baseball news -- game recaps and other items -- just ended in mid-sentence without continuing on another page at all.

Most of these are minor, but when you see them over and over, and seemingly more often, it's a problem. It could be sloppy editing in some cases (the missed spelling errors are inexcusable). I tweeted one of those pictures above and mentioned the Daily News Twitter in my post (@PhillyDailyNews) and got a reply saying it was a production or computer problem or something. Another possible cause: I have home delivery of the paper, and because they want the paper delivered early in the morning (like around 5 am or so) so people can get it on the way to work, there's an early deadline. I think some of these errors (such as the Texas Rangers-win-World Series caption) are caused by rushing out a paper to meet the deadline.

The early deadlines are a problem with sports coverage as well. It used to be that unless a game was played on the West Coast, you would always get a game story in the next day's paper. Now, you're lucky if a game story is in there if a game is played in the Central time zone, and even East Coast games might only include bare-bones stories without post-game quotes from players or coaches. One memorable morning, I turned to the sports section to find a 76ers game summary that consisted of two paragraphs from the Associated Press. The sad thing about this was that it was a home game.

You'd think that modern technology would lead to newspapers being readied for printing more quickly, which would allow for later deadlines. It seems the opposite has happened. (Nowadays the writers have to blog and tweet and even do videos and such. Maybe if they didn't have to do that stuff they could actually get articles into the paper faster?)

Two other things I'm bothered by: one, there's a tablet edition of the paper but it's not offered for free to subscribers. Entertainment Weekly has a tablet edition now, and if you subscribe to the magazine you get the tablet edition for free. It's even got a little bit of tablet-only bonus material. This would seem to be an obvious move for the Philly papers to duplicate.

The other is the decision to have some stories in the Daily News come from Inquirer writers (with the same thing in reverse, as some Daily News stories are published in the Inquirer). Supposedly it eliminates duplicate coverage and better utilizes resources. But does it? Some Phillies stories are usually from an Inquirer writer now, but the Daily News Phillies beat writer still writes daily stuff as well, so it's not like they're saving money. And what if you're one of those people who reads both papers? Sure, the columnists are exclusive to one paper or the other. But on April 13 I counted eight different articles that appeared in both papers, in the sports sections alone.

Besides, I am a Daily News reader. I've read it since the Bulletin shut down in January 1982. I've never really read the Inquirer on weekdays at any rate, and stopped reading the Sunday paper a long, long time ago because I found it tedious. If I want to read Inquirer writers, I'd buy the Inquirer. (The only reason I bought it on April 13 is because that was the day my mom's obituary ran, and it was placed in the Inquirer only, not the Daily News.)

Everyone knows the newspaper industry in general is in deep trouble, and certainly the ownership roulette wheel the Inquirer and Daily News have been on has not helped. There's been constant speculation over the decades that at some point some owner will kill off the Daily News once and for all. If that happens they'll lose me as a paying customer completely, because I will not buy the Inquirer. I feel bad because there are a lot of smart, funny, talented, passionate (and compassionate) writers at the Daily News. But I just wonder how long I want to keep spending the money if the Daily News is just going to be allowed to deteriorate.

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