I like it

Dateline: Mon 04 Nov 2013

It's been about a month now since the Indianapolis Star restructured its daily newspaper, folding city/state coverage into the A section, adding a second section of national and world news from USA Today and generally attempting to expand its coverage and reach.

No fan of USA Today, I was prepared to dislike the "new" newspaper, but not the case. It's fine. It's better, in fact.

If anything, reporters -- as thin as their ranks are -- appear to be working harder to deliver a generous helping of solid local coverage. It's as if there's been a rebirth of energy and people believe in their mission again, which is no easy task considering layoffs this summer and an impending move. Still, the proof is in the daily paper. 

In particular, a number of stories stand out:

The front page Sunday piece Sept. 29 on black males who were murdered over a year's time, which was detailed and a bit of a surprise given the newspaper's policy on not publishing the race of crime suspects. However, the page 1 story -- "Young Lives Cut Short" by Tim Evans -- showed in part that crime was often a factor in these deaths;

The excellent, thorough, and riveting David Bisard trial/case coverage by John Touhy, which has answered many questions and is sure to be a must-read whatever the outcome

The ongoing action and tension between State Public School chief Glenda Ritz and the board of education, most which was written by Barb Bergoettz.

The home daycare series perturbs and disturbs but needs to have light shed. Again, Tim Evans' work.

And an update on the fate of Northside neighborhoods dealing with the Corps of Engineers regarding flood control -- thanks, Jon Murray, for telling us first what we who are affected did not even know.

As to features, Will Higgins' pre-Halloween bike ride through underground Pogue's Run was sophisticated and funny, with great photos by Michelle Pemberton. If anything I wish for more stories like this -- "make me laugh, make me cry" -- because too often, the features pages are reduced to list-making. Or the boring antics of that Sunday woman Leslie who writes about herself all the time. Get over it. More Higgins, less Leslie.

With the new format, the city/state columnists Matt Tully and Erika Smith seem more subdued. Is their writing off, or is it the placement that makes them less significant? But Sports still has Bob Kravitz, and as for the rest of that section, most people I hear from say pffft to it. I have no opinion. But I do appreciate knowing that the Red Sox won the World Series, which was a USA Today save.

USA Today also has surprised me with stories on the Silk Road (drugs) and the new Google glasses, among others.

In short, I am not complaiing. For a change. The Star is well worth its price in both news and deversion.



Star Newsie [unverified] said:

I agree. While some of the content is repeated in USA Today sections, we are getting more bang for our bucks. I especially am enjoying entertainment/movie coverage (which COULD have been used in that silly half-page-missing Features section) and book coverage. One book review a week in the Star was pithy. I also think local coverage is ramping up a bit. I do find it amusing that obits are listed in Saturday's Things To Do section. "Don't know what to do this weekend? Crash a funeral."

2013-11-07 11:10:14

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2013-11-10 23:08:16

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