The [Monday] Papers
Just an abbreviated version of the Papers this morning as I tend to other business. Tomorrow I'll return with a full column and new offerings throughout the site.
"Ben Eason, chief executive of Creative Loafing, said, 'We are not trying to make any other statement here other than it is a competitive world out there and we are doing what we can to make sure we are putting out an excellent paper in the communities we serve.'"
And then there are the communities we don't care to serve, Eason added. We're putting out lousy papers there.
"There is a chance that historians will examine this period in American history and wonder if journalism left the field. With a lack of real-time annotation, wholesale business swindles and rogue actions by sitting governments will go uncovered," Carr writes.
"In part, it is the triumph of the spinners, top to bottom. Since the media reached the height of its powers in the 1970s, there has been a pervasive effort to gain custody of public information in both the public and private sector. A working reporter cannot walk into a Gap store in a mall, let alone a police station, and ask a question without being swarmed by bureaucracy."
More than that, I would add, this is an age when the bean counters, marketers and greedy corporate suits have completed their victory in an age-old battle against the very journalists upon whose work they profit. This is a battle that has always existed in the industry, but newsrooms have lost by getting arrogant and lazy while remaining uneducated about the business side of their business. Instead of scrutinizing the false claims of their corporate masters the way journalists might be expected to, journalists of this era instead have absorbed the marketing values and selfishness of their paymasters while chasing off the kind of creativity and imagination that could very well have saved their organizations from the kind of doom - oh boo-hoo, our criminally huge profit margins aren't as fantastically fat as they once were - that has become the norm as actual, real reporting disappears when it is needed most.
"Without John Conroy's stories, the public would have never believed what happened to my son," the mother of Aaron Patterson told Carr. "It is so important to have a reporter who knew the whole story, who did the reporting, and told people, over and over, what was really going on."
Ben Eason and Reader editor Alison True don't care about all that. They've got entertainment listings to revamp.
"The four men were among scores of black men who reported being tortured, beaten with telephone books, and even suffocated with plastic typewriter covers during police interrogations in the 1970s and 1980s, special prosecutors found last year.
"Of the proposed settlement, Flint Taylor, a lawyer for one of the men, Leroy Orange, said, 'It speaks volumes about the seriousness of the systematic torture, abuse and cover-up that went on in the city of Chicago for decades."
News of the settlement was leaked on Friday so it would melt away in the little-read Saturday newspapers - and while the mayor is away in Italy. He is so impassioned about the torture that went on during his two terms as Cook County state's attorney and millions of dollars the taxpayers will shell out because of it on his watch, including millions the city initially spent fighting the lawsuits against it, that he was too choked up to comment.
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Posted on December 10, 2007
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