Dateline: Sun 04 Dec 2011

The Indianapolis Sunday Star is especially un-readable today.

It's always easy to tell when stories are driven by editors and brass vs. from reporters' notebooks and observations and curiosity.

Boo to the big-yawn columns by Matt Tully and Erika Smith promoting charities. Columnists are supposed to be the paper's stars; why force them into such mundane situations? This is called public relations, not journalism.

Also, the newspaper's tiresome promotion of shopping local is over, already.

Again, not blaming the reporters. It's a Gannett thing, and it shows.

There are other examples, but frankly, they are too boring to even mention.

Thank you God for the New York Times.



Whitebeard [unverified] said:

Ruth, when I looked through the paper today, my thoughts were nearly identical to yours.

I tried to cancel my entire subscription to The Star last week, but my better half for 32 years said she wants to see the ads on Sundays, so I reluctantly agreed to continue just the Sunday delivery.

This Dueling Columnist thing you mention is really wearing quite thin. I'm at the point now, I won't even read them because the presentation is so pretentious. I would imagine it's wearing thin on the two columnists themselves, but they've got bills to pay every month and food to put on the table.

These days, I'm feeling kind of like Paul Simon when he wrote the song lyrics: "I get all the news I need on the weather report. I can handle all the news I need on the weather report."

2011-12-04 13:50:38

Homer [Member] said:

Agree. The only thing that stuck with me from reading the paper this morning was that Frank and Nancy Russell were retiring from the Pulliam Trust board. I rarely read the dueling columns. They're always forced and the result, if they are done as intended, is to cancel each other. Why bother?

2011-12-04 16:18:58

Tell The Truth [Member] said:

The reporting form last night's Big Ten Game was especially good. The cheerleading column (quotes form visitors, "Ain't God Good to Indy?") was childish, baseline PR. Embarrassing.

It took logner to read the obits than the rest of the papoer. Fiftene minutes tops.

And yes, the Sunday NYT is particularly enticing. Travel Style (gotta check the gay weddings!) and Book Review. Stellar. Solid writing, crisp editing.

I've read it for years--and two of my three grown adult children do likewise. Sometimes the Sunday NTY Magazine hangs around until the next weekend.

That's shelf life the IndyStar would pay for.

2011-12-04 21:46:24

hendy [Member] said:

Obits? No obits today online for IndyStar. Mistake? Who knows?

2011-12-05 10:23:55

Jennifer [unverified] said:

It breaks my heart to see how out-of-town management is weakening the Sunday product. I'm reading less and less of it each week. Sports is the only section that remains a reliable good read. Like Whitebeard's spouse, I'm finding that it's the ads and inserts that keep us subscribing. I wish they would let Tully (politics) and Erika (technology) get back to what they do best. I feel for the folks who remain at the paper. Gannett is choking the life out of The Star.

2011-12-05 11:23:21

Ed [unverified] said:

Six months ago, after nearly a year of prodding by my spouse, I dropped my daily subscription because of the ever-deteriorating content and the Star’s inability to deliver the paper before 8 a.m. in northern Hamilton County. I maintained the Sunday Star, I guess because I couldn’t go cold turkey. But yesterday was the straw that broke the camel’s back. We didn’t get a paper delivered. In fact, nobody on my cul-de-sac got a paper. So around 10: 30 I called the Star and got a voice activated computer system that eventually asked if I would like another paper delivered. I wanted to reply, “No, I just want a paper delivered.” But that wasn’t one of the options. I received an an email around noon confirming that a new paper was being dispatched. It never showed up.

2011-12-05 13:18:33

Mile0 [unverified] said:

It's easy to rag on "He occasionally makes sense/She's in over her head," but this wasn't even good enough to run in one of the community high school papers they so frequently write about.

There are some smart people there. I can't believe anybody thought this was a good idea.

2011-12-05 13:36:24

Whitebeard [unverified] said:

From a long time of living, I've got more questions than answers these days, so I'd like to pose this as a question:

I don't remember past Star columnists (including Ruth) as having an "I am an authority on everything" premise to their writings.

I find this especially irritating with so many of Tully's columns. As if he is the self-appointed de-facto mayor, governor, superintendent of public instruction, etc., etc.

Am I off-base with this? Are the columnists TOLD by management to represent themselves as universal gurus on everything?

Or, is this a humility (as in, lack of) issue?

Just an old man wondering on a cold and rainy day out here in the cornfields.

2011-12-05 14:42:26

ComputerWheels [Member] said:

No obits? Maybe no one died? (That's a joke, folks!)

I cancelled some time ago. Besides the lowered product, I got tired of the paper littering my driveway even when I asked to stop delivery for vacations. Now I can read real news on the web.

2011-12-05 19:40:59

Tell The Truth [Member] said:

Hendy: you've got Tully correct, in my eyes. Until the Manual HS series, he never busted a sweat writing. And I continually point to this shining example of journalistic judgment gone awry:

In 2006, during a summer interview with a panel of reporters including Mr. Tully and Kevin Rader of Ch. 13, then-Cong. Julia Carson went completely off-line. She glazed over, and started talking about a little girl who attended a picnic a few days earlier, and how she was still looking for the girl who ate her was spooky, and caught on camera. Thirteen aired it without editing.

Now riddle me this: what self-respecting columnist, OR editor, would allow the state's premier newspaper's politilcial reporter to witness something like that, and NOT follow up? They did nothing about that brain fart. Even though all who watched Ch. 13 saw it.

Readers deserved a thorough follow-up. He was there.

The lack of obits today concerned me too. Evidently we were awfully healthy over the weekend.

2011-12-05 21:04:30

hendy [Member] said:

There's a line there, TTT. First, the obits were finally posted. My guess: someone forgot to click something. Just the usual web staff sloth. They've been better recently; I'll presume someone else is leading in the online dept.

WRT Tully, writing about Julia Carson's obvious dementia is something perhaps best left alone. Her mind was gone. That's a sad thing. My mother sits at St Pauls. Her mind is also gone. There was a short stretch where she was in denial. Then things got different. She's about 5-25% today. There is no cure. Should she have resigned? I doubt she had the mental capacity to do so, and the process to get a sitting member of congress through the declaratory processed needed to appoint an interim successor would be high-profile and difficult, and an embarrassment to Carson. Although I disagreed with her on some serious issues, I have respect for other things she did, and her absolute reverence for her constituency.

You'll recall that she passed not long after that. I'm guessing, vascular dementia, stroke, Alzheimer's, something similar. This will occur to a large segment of the population and while it needs to be dealt with, dealing with it needs to be done with dignity.

That said.... I hope Tully finds his groove; he wants bully pulpit status, but he's neither a bully or an effective preacher. I hope Smith finds her groove. I think they're not in their groove right now. That speaks to either their management or their management, pick one. Of course management is also grating against other factors that are very much beyond their controls.

Half a league, half a league, half a league on.

2011-12-06 08:14:24

Crossed Wires [unverified] said:

Anyone else notice even the Hoosier Lottery and Powerball numbers are not being posted the next day? Something about them being drawn too late? They have always been drawn at the same time, even when the Star previously posted them the next day. Its more like the Star is now going to press too early to include pertinent news.

2011-12-08 12:35:17

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