Monday, September 7, 2009

"My Name is Ozymandias . . ."

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The once-proud Philadelphia Inquirer has been having the usual problems newspapers do these days, and its owners have chosen to fight back by eliminating features. One by one, things closed down, until the day came when I realized that the only reason I got the Sunday paper at all was for the comics.

So they shrank the Sunday funnies, and placed them in the television section.

Shown above: The current Sunday Zits, with the weekday version laid over it for scale. Believe it or not, this is the Bigger and Better Version! When subscribers started dropping the Sunday paper in droves, they made the comics larger and ran huge ads in the daily paper saying, "We Heard You!" and bragging about the newly-restored jumbo-sized comics.

All that's context and prologue.

The single most lamentable cost-savings measure that's been taken, however, is the decision to get rid of almost all the editing. A couple of days ago, the Inquirer ran an article about plans for a mass Naked Bicycle Ride in Philly, and reported -- absolutely seriously -- that the police were taking a "wait-and-see" attitude.

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2 comments:

Rich Baldwin said...

That's like shooting yourself in the foot; seems to me the only reason to produce a newspaper or magazine these days is for the editing . . . well, and the comics of course.

Michael Swanwick said...

I imagine these people trying to save an automobile company. "The spare tire? Superfluous. Let's get rid of the radio. Young people all download mp3s from the Web anyway. Tire jack? Only rarely needed. And don't talk to me about the trunk! C'mon! You can put the groceries in the back seat"