The Sun Also Rises

May 8, 2009 at 11:25 pm | Posted in Evil Tribune, Lowell, Lowell Sun | Leave a comment
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Throughout its storied history, Lucy the Blog has taken some well-deserved shots at The Lowell Sun.

Isunlogot began nearly two years ago, on May 9, 2007, with our *NEPA award-winning evisceration of the paper’s plump n’ pasty editor, Jim Campanini.  Thanks to that fine piece of journalism, a basic Google search will now tell you all you need to know about this skeevy predator, who continues to embarrass his unfortunate staff on a semiregular basis.

Shortly thereafter, we exposed the Sun’s loathsome and underhanded efforts to intimidate and mislead American Idol voters, thus derailing the AI dreams of the dreamy Sanjaya Malakar.  Scoundrels!

Ultimately, it was not their chronic ineptitude or their flamboyantly whitebread columnists or their fabulous typos that caused us to give them the final gooseface by canceling our subscription.  It was the simple fact that they relied on 7-year-old children and drunken vagrants to deliver the paper in a timely fashion.  Some of my best friends are 7-year-old children and drunken vagrants.  But I would not ask them to deliver a newspaper on a daily basis.

Lately, however, I have been having a bit of a love affair with the paper, or at least my relationship with it.  Its faults remain, but I look forward to reading it, so that must count for something.  Of course, this is mostly due to my relatively recent commuter status.  Pricepoints and convenience go a long way, and the guy at the train station hands you the paper if you give him a quarter.  One Quarter.  I’m no economist, but that’s a good deal.  I can almost always find a quarter before leaving the house.  At the full cover price of 75 cents, I’d probably stop reading.  Or maybe I’d only buy it on Thursdays to torture myself with Lowellita’s column; just reading about one of her late-night romps a few weeks ago left me with a mild case of the crabs.

In any case, given our past criticism, it is only fair that we occassionally commend the paper’s editorial staff, most of whom perform a commendable job in a thankless industry that swallowed me whole and crushed my spirit in less than three years’ time, leaving me with little more than a heavy debt load and lingering animosity.

I loved reading the Sun this week.  In large part, this was because of events on the ground here in Lowell.  The reporters had a lot to cover, but they covered it.  And if they hadn’t, well…I guess these guys would have.  And these guys would have.  And in their own way, they would have and they would have too.  But they certainly wouldn’t have been able to alone, or at least not for any sustained period of time.  That’s why newspapers matter.

Photo by David H. Brow, Lowell Sun

Photo by David H. Brow, Lowell Sun

Because of the Sun, I know that cops arrested 22 drunk drivers in 3 hours at a Thorndike Street sobriety checkpoint.  Is that not insane?  These people should be executed immediately.  All of them.  Scary, scary shit.

I also learned about the United Teen Equality Center’s continued awesomeness.  They’re planning a $6.3 renovation to their facilities, which will hopefully get a boost from President Obama’s socialist pork funds.  As a result, UTEC will be able to serve even more kids and steer them from a life of hoodlum shenanigans.  Fuckin’ libruls!

(And speaking of this worthy organization, have you seen these lovely paintings of UTEC youths?  Why don’t you buy one of them, you cheap, selfish bastard?  Our family’s diapers, Perk Is A Beast t-shirts, and Budweiser drinks aren’t gonna pay for themselves, you know!!!)

Continue Reading The Sun Also Rises…

EXTRA, EXTRA! Lowell Sun Gets the Gooseface

January 28, 2008 at 9:16 pm | Posted in Evil Tribune, Lowell, Lowell Sun | 9 Comments
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papers.jpg(Ed. Note:  This post unintentionally turned into a long, hard slog, and I wound up, in news parlance, burying the lede.  My bad.) 

It’s no secret that the newspaper industry is kinda fucked.  There are more professional, dignified ways to state that.  And many have, or do on a regular basis. 

I’m told that HBO’s “The Wire” has devoted its final season to the newspaper’s demise.  But I wouldn’t know, because less than three years of working at a newspaper left me so poor that I still can’t afford anything beyond the most basic of basic cable packages.

The rise of the Internets and technology is most often sited as the force behind declining circulation, ad revenue, and newsroom staffs.  Corporate boobs atop the masthead lacked the minimal foresight it would’ve taken to see this train roaring down the tracks.  But after years of resistance, they’re finally loosening the vice grip on their piggybanks, and they’ve started to acknowledge that they might have to adjust their thinking.  Or at least start thinking.

As reported by Lucy the Dog man-crush Dan Kennedy, The Evil-Tribune recently announced it will make all of its content available for free on its website, a move that even dumb old Lucy the Dog claimed was a dire necessity before the blond cabal of Tribunazis kicked my sorry ass to the curb.

Publishers are also investing more in their technolomogical capabilities.  Yesterday, Kennedy posted a nifty story about Catherine Keefe O’Hare, an editor at the Danvers Herald.  Kennedy writes:“It wasn’t long ago that a local reporter could head out on an assignment with nothing more than a notebook and a pen. Maybe a camera, but only if there were no photographers available. But those days are rapidly drawing to a close.”

Now reporters and editors like O’Hare get a video camera and editing equipment.  So not only do they have to file that story by deadline, they also have to shoot a short film, edit it, and post it on the website, an increase in workload that is surely reflected in their paychecks.  Or not.

Because it’s also no secret that no one gets into this truly noble profession to get rich.  Or even to break even.  Being a newspaper reporter is a great life if your spouse is a doctor or lawyer.  If you don’t care about little things like spending quality time with your family.  If you aspire to grow man-jugs because you only have time and funds for hasty lunch runs through the Burger King drive thru.  But it’s not the racket you jump into if you’d like a comfortable life.

If I sound bitter about any of this, I guess I am.  I would have loved being a newspaper reporter if I could have made a living doing it.  But it’s a masochistic way of life that’s only getting worse.

tombstone.gif

 Bloggasm reports that 25% of 770 newspaper journalists polled said they intend to leave newspaper journalism, and 36% said they’re uncertain if they’ll stay.  Among respondents under the age of 34, those numbers rise to 31% and 43%. 

According to the study’s author:“Those intending to leave indicate that they will freelance, enter public relations, move into academia or return to school…”

He also mentions that the brightest among them will build media empires around zombies and Kendrick Perkins.

In my opinion, this brain drain from newsrooms is as dangerous a threat as anything to newspapers’ survival.  I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by humiliating wages and 60-hour workweeks.  We were all replaced by equally gifted journalists with ideals and hopes that will also, in time, be squashed.  The cycle of burnout and turnover will continue, resulting in a sad decay of institutional knowledge.  Reporters who’ve been around for years and know their community inside and out will become increasingly rare.  And despite revamped websites, complementary videos, and discussion boards, the quality of coverage in your community will suffer.  But this is not why I’m writing today.

Lucy the Dog does not have the answers to save the newspaper industry.  However, we do have one bit of advice to save the Lowell Sun.  It is profound.  It is radical.  It is so far outside the box that it’s almost back inside the box.  It will blow your mind.  And it appears after the jump.

(No, it’s not weekly inserts of posters featuring sexiest son of a bitch of all-time Charles Nelson Reilly, though that wouldn’t be a bad start.) Continue Reading EXTRA, EXTRA! Lowell Sun Gets the Gooseface…

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