Thursday, May 31, 2007

More on the Venerable Chron

Adonis writes from the South of France, where he's recuperating from Cannes. He is a salty dog.

Even when newspapers still mattered, the Hearst newspaper division never seemed able to produce a good one. The morning Examiner was a major bore before they folded the tent and moved to the afternoons. The Sunday paper then became the bore to be suffered because Hearst was putting it out. They just could never spot editorial talent, and the same shortcoming must have at work on the business side. Picking Bronstein to run the show was a major mistake. He was competent and thorough as a reporter, but no more than that. But his swashbuckling persona evidently made the Hearst gang in New York think they were getting a modern-day Scott Newhall, an eccentric genius whose brilliant insight it was that readers sometimes wanted to be amused and surprised when they opened their paper in the morning instead of a diet of eat-your-vegetables. When he left, Bill German's fawning emulation of the New York Times -- known as the "gray lady" for good reason -- commenced in earnest. What the Times put on Page One became the holy writ scrupulously followed. You might as well have been living in Manhattan. Bronstein's later business with Sharon Stone business and the other news he made may have confirmed Hearst in its sad illusion a dashing editor was at the wheel. The technological revolution we are witnessing may have rendered all of this irrelevant, and nothing could have been done to pull the wheel back on the death dive. Older readers, the most loyal, saw little for them in a sheet that trended ever left, and they went elsewhere. The fascist old bastards! Who cared! Advertisers, it seemed, did. As readers leave, ad rates drop If you think things have unraveled fast, wait and see what happens with a product that will become duller, more formulaic, pander more to gays, etc. The latter are not as popular in the suburbs as in the academy and the 415 area code. So another round of "fuck 'em, who needs them!" seems in store at 5th and Mission. Tell your students to find another line of work. Blacksmithy shows more promise.

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