The gall

Dateline: Tue 25 Jan 2011

The stripping down of features (the Exrra section) Monday through Saturday in the Indianapolis Star is such an insult.

Worse, is exec editor Dennis Ryerson's attempt to defend the "spadea" (wrap) format, referring to packaging all of Extra into a single page with a flap. Ryerson wrote about it Sunday, under the banner of" "Coming Monday: a new section of comics, puzzles and more."

New section, indeed. Nothing section. As a friend noted, in an email, "DR’s missives are so Orwellian! Less is more!!!"

Gannett has never given a fig for a features section. Their idea of features is "news you can use" and a few other sops thrown the way of features. How different from the days when an editor said features "should make me laugh, and it should make me cry."

Well, I guess Gannett got half of it right.

I wonder what this means for the future of those working in features. My forecast is that if they break the Page 1 barrier -- and one or two do -- their jobs are safe. Others will not be so lucky.




Tom Greenacres [unverified] said:

Today's paper was delviered hours earlier than usual, and was incomplete. How can I face the day without Doonesbury and Zits?

I wonder if they rushed circ last night because of the State of the Union padding?

2011-01-26 07:44:21

Ellen McKinney [unverified] said:

yeah, ruth --

i too remember when the star came closer to giving "women's interests" (as if only women cared about puzzles, comics, the arts, etc.) something closer to parity with "men's interests" -- i.e. sports.

hasn't anyone who takes ad orders for the star (they obviously aren't ad SALESpeople) ever learned that women are the purchasing agents for families, as well as many having the wherewithal to buy what they like for themselves?

pathetic. just pathetic. i'm glad i was around in the days of charlie griffo, when there were TWO feature sections every sunday, with something to appeal to everyone from hilda housewife to frieda feminist (and more men than would admit to reading the sections, too).

i'm glad i was around to have dave powell and you, ruth, and jim lindgren as bosses. we didn't always agree on priorities, but we always tried to serve the readers with information, not just serve them to the advertisers on toast.

2011-01-26 12:35:57

Write Man [Member] said:

From the National Arts journalism Program (sorry in advance for the lengthy post here):

"The trends are not encouraging. While more Americans are participating in cultural activities than at any time in our history, and although the arts have evolved to
unprecedented size and complexity, the resources that metropolitan newsrooms allocate to the arts are generally flat or in retreat.

During the past five years, none of the newspapers that we tracked in this study has increased the amount of editorial space devoted to news, criticism or other types of journalism (not including listings) about arts and

Even with listings, only one paper expanded its arts-and-culture newshole. At some dailies, the coverage has declined sharply.

The majority of newspapers are running fewer articles about arts and culture. Dailies are shoehorning shorter pieces into shrinking newsholes and assigning a larger share of stories to freelancers, syndicators and wire services than five years ago."

If memory serves (and it's been a year or so since I read all of this), the FASTEST shrinking section of the traditional newspaper is arts coverage. It would seem that's the case here in Indianapolis with the Star.

2011-01-26 20:10:26

rockpile1228 [unverified] said:

I'm just grateful to have been there post-merger when the features and arts sections were fat with talent and content. It's heartbreaking to see it fade to black. Long live the spirit of Charles Staff and Lynn Ford!

2011-01-29 10:06:57

Tom Greenacres [unverified] said:

"i'm glad i was around "

Ellen, I am glad also. When I was(and you were)around the Star had overset, and a Sunday magazine that Fred Cavinder put together, no shortage of features in Indianapolis and not need to resort to canned USAT crap.

2011-01-29 19:19:13

tim hahn [unverified] said:

Ruth. Good reads. You probably know that yet another bloodbath occurred at what used to be the Star. More layoffs/firings. They can't stop the self-imposed bleeding. Any news on the folks who were cut?

2011-01-30 19:30:29

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