Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Which way is up to you? More give and take with The Trib. And Dave Copeland's perspectives too.

If the shoe fits... Which way is up?
Pittsburgh City Paper - Main Feature ... having two papers is supposed to be a good thing for readers.
Yeah, right.

Dave Copeland was and is a great reporter. I miss his blog. The article speaks to me from a few perspectives.

The real losers are Pittsburgh’s readers, who have not one but two daily newspapers that under-serve them by remaining stuck in the past and out of touch with what’s important to real people.
Furthermore, it also seems odd as hell to me that the Trib spent years working on articles that embarrass the mayor, yet can't even contact his administration's opposition. When I ran for Mayor, in 2001, I didn't get any satisfaction from the Trib. Zippo by design.

If Kwiecinski (Mayor Murphy's spokesperson) knew what we were working on, we were told, he would tip off the Post-Gazette. Of course. The PG has been a great fan of the mayor.

What I left behind was a newspaper culture that rewards ass-kissing by subordinates and maintenance of the status quo. In such a culture, two dailies in one town might be two too many. Bingo! A hope of mine is to create media as getting media coverage that makes sense is not to be counted upon.

Dave finishes the article with a Q: "The question for the Trib is: How long will readers wait?" Well, I think a better question that gets to the roots of the issue is how long can people in Pittsburgh survive? Those that are stuck here are forced into waiting. That wait will be forever. But, people are moving out of town. People might keep the Trib -- and/or the PG -- but might move out of state first.

The voters vote with their feet. Same too with customers. The readers of The Trib might hang on for some time -- but -- because of population decline in the region, the Trib is in decline. Same too for KDKA, etc.

The media and the governmental types are being brutal to Pittsburgh.


Amos_thePokerCat said...

To me, it seems that Copeland's article has more than its fair share of sour grapes. To start out, the premise is flawed. PIT is not a real two newspaper town. It was not until the PG newpaper strike in, what?, '92?. If it was not for that strike the Trib would still be just a Greensburg local sheet.

Mark Rauterkus said...

Sour grapes -- well, throughout four years -- he's sitting on a sour vinyard.

The Press and Post Gazette were different newspapers. Two papers.

Then there was the Sun Telegraph and of course The Pgh Courier. (grin)

Two or one paper -- no matter. We've got NONE that really do the job and fill the duty of what should occur with the 4th estate.

Mark Rauterkus said...

The other rub in Pittsburgh -- QED. If we had real public broadcasting with a wing that did real journalism -- then we'd not NEED the papers as much. But, there isn't any local news coverage out of TV 13 nor TV 16 -- WQED and WQEX. They do some celebrity stuff and do-whop to the 9s.

Amos_thePokerCat said...

Press and Post Gazette were different newspapers. Two papers.

Yes, were. When was the joint operating agreement? 60s? When was the last time the PG/Press printed a paper (morning vs afternoon) on the same day? 70s?

So, in actuality for 20 years PIT had only one paper, 70s to 90s. Effectively it has had only one paper for 40 years, since the 60s.

Public TV almost never does local news. Anywhere. Any in CLE? COL? BUF?

In Denver/Boulder area, KDBI (12) has on Wed Colorado Inside Out, and has on Fri Independent Thinking. KRMA (6) has on Fri Colorado State of Mind. Denver dominates the politics of the state as the one large city. That is three shows total a week. I have not seen any better local TV coverage in my travels.

The only place local news is covered, if any, is on the radio.

Mark Rauterkus said...

The charter of public TV is to do local news. Otherwise it shouldn't be on the air -- the public airways. Hence, my gripe. QED killed QEX. They are not doing their job either.

Also, news, as in debates, need to get TV coverage -- and they fail too.

The joint operating agreement didn't cover editorial. It was like two people living in the same household. They are two people. Two papers. Two mastheads. Two editorial boards. Two sets of reporters.

Amos_thePokerCat said...

QED almost killed itself too, not just QEX.

Nope, public TV is not about news. You may want it to be. I may want it to be, but there is nothing that requires it. In fact, WQED was on the air before there was any public tv. It was called educational tv back then.

In fact, as a libertarian, I find the idea of "public" tv to be a little distasteful.

The Press, PG were supposed to be two paper in theory. It was one paper in reality. Even as a 13 year old in the 70's I knew the "separate but equal" joint operating agreement was a joke. There was no competition. Not even the most superficial attempt at it.

Is there even a Press published anymore? I can not remember the last time I saw a box for one.

Compare that to the newpaper wars in Denver during the 90's between the Denver Post and the Rocky Mountain News. There was blood running the gutters. Sunday editions were $0.50. Daily $0.25.

I have not much sympathy for Copeland. He really swallowed the spin about what a good move it was to work for the Trib, hook, line, and sinker. This is an investigative reporter? 10 seconds watching newspaper sales at a Giant Eagle, and he would have know that they were an also ran, not an up and comer.