I have a love-hate relationship with the Times. I love the newspaper, but the newspaper hates me. Because the conventional wisdom is never get into a fight with those who buy ink by the barrel, I don’t want this to be viewed as fight, but rather a display of critical, loving affection.
One of the other reasons why I am launching a specific daily feature is out of a reflection of how this blog has progressed. To put it simply, I am overwhelmed by the fact that, on any given day, more than 2K individual readers visit this blog. Love it or hate it, this blog counts. And I take that responsibility increasingly serious.
Unfortunately, the local blogosphere doesn’t seem to count. You can count on one hand the number of local politically-minded blogs that matter. And most of their content is either limited and/or sporadically delivered. For example, my colleagues at St. Petersblog haven’t posted in months, while daily media blogs, like the preeminent Political Whore really only post in the morning. I think the local blogosphere can do better and more. I am challenging myself and the rest of my blogeagues to do better and to do more. Every day at 2 p.m., I plan to offer a few hundred words not just regurgitating the headlines you’ve already read, but some reflective thoughts on what those headlines and stories represent.
So, for today, I think:
1. I love the breadth of information found in today’s Taste section. Kudos to Janet Keeler and Laura Reiley for consistently presenting a section of the newspaper that is on par, no actually exceeds, the level of excellence typically found in the NYT’s Dining section.
2. After reading Cristina Silva’s article “St. Pete Pride clashes with city over display of rainbow banners”, I am putting up a rainbow flag outside my house to protest, not only City Hall’s ignorant discrimination, but all of the ignorance and discrimination currently found in government (see California).
3. There has to be at least one other member of St. Petersburg’s City Council not named Karl Nurse who actually does something or has a quote to offer.
4. Having Eric Deggans write about TLC’s inexplicable hit Jon & Kate Plus 8 is like having Thomas Friedman write birthday cards on recycled paper. It’s just not what the Fates intended. Deggans may be the Times’ most topical writer, yet all we can get from him is six hundred words about a show on TLC?
5. Speaking of which, how horrible is the juxtaposition of laying out Deggans’ article about a show on TLC on one page and a story that details the loss of 191 local jobs at Hunter Douglas on another page?
6. Don’t get me started about how stupid it is to have the Entertainment section on 2B. Why doesn’t the Times do for 2B, what it does for 2C with Tom Jones? Give the whole thing over to Adam Smith and Co.?
7. One more note about Deggans…why is he buried to media criticism, while Sue Carlton gets a column? Her column today was about Her. Picking up litter. On the beach. As of 2:35 pm, not one reader has commented online about her story. Then again, not once in my entire civic life has anyone, of even marginal importance, come up to me and said: “Have you read Carlton today???!!!”
8. A column you have to read from today’s paper is editor Diane Steinle all but declaring war on the Pinellas County Commission: “Based on comments in letters, e-mails and blog postings, many residents apparently would argue that it is not — that there is a growing gulf between the commission and the public. Their comments are colored by disappointment or a “throw the bums out” bitterness.”
9. The best sports columnist the Times has may be Tom Jones. His Two Cents column is always a worthwhile read, especially since most people no longer read the Sports page for game results. Fortunately, he gets a lot of room.
10. I love Twitter. Twitter is wonderful, but how many articles is a newspaper allowed to publish about Twitter in one day? The ouroboros of a newspaper writing about Twitter, then tweeting about the articles in which they write about Twitter could never end.