More TriCityNews reaction

Pat Thornton at The Journalism Iconoclast reacts to Anil Dash’s post about TriCityNews. Dash, you may recall, wonders whether the alt weekly is really a “news”paper at all or just an adspace. Thornton agrees with Dash and chides the New York Times article’s author, David Carr, for “not proving that the triCityNews serves its community well.” He goes on:

Most people in a community aren’t advertisers, and they are served by quality editorial content. Maybe the triCityNews is a fantastic editorial product, but I wouldn’t bet on it.

But, as commenter Michael Josefowicz on Thornton’s post points out:

if you follow the money, wouldn’t most business people at most newspapers agree with “I don’t want anything that detracts from the paper and the presence of those big, beautiful full-page ads” and “business sense” and “running lean” and keeping advertisers happy.

Bloggers out there are harping on the TriCityNews’s publisher for being proud of his big, full-page ads and for not mentioning his journalistic content, but when we really get down to it, aren’t all newspaper businesses equally in love with their ads and their advertisers? Ads, after all, do pay the majority of a newspaper’s bills. Why should the journalism idealists out there exhibit the TriCityNews as an example of greediness or of not serving a community need when it’s basically operating under the same business principles as the big guys?

All of this really turns on Carr, who didn’t give his readers a crystal clear vision of what the TriCityNews publishes on the news side of the aisle. Perhaps he and the publisher talked at length about the paper’s journalism, but Carr did not include that in his story, and so we must speculate.

I suppose it’s good that the industry’s still strong enough to reject a story that offers a glimmer of hope because it’s lacking a few details. When the journalists start accepting any story of hope without questioning it, then you know the industry is in deep trouble.


5 thoughts on “More TriCityNews reaction

  1. Anil Dash is obviously not familiar with Tri City and therefore shouldn't make statements like

    “Most people in a community aren’t advertisers, and they are served by quality editorial content. Maybe the triCityNews is a fantastic editorial product, but I wouldn’t bet on it.”

    Tri City is by no means a penny saver like Dash claims. In fact, it is the only “news” paper in Monmouth County, NJ (actually of of NJ for that matter) worth reading. I'm an avid reader and have been for a long time. It's been great to see where they began at I think 12 pages to their most current issue which was 76 pages.

    Tri City's off-color commentary on everything from creative local business, art, music, local politics, architecture, urban redevelopment, etc. is refreshing to say the least. Perhaps Dash should pick up a copy before commenting on it's editorial. I compare it to the Howard Stern of the print world although not quite that extreme but definitely edgy. Some people don't like filthy language but I always laugh at some of the language I see in Tri City. They tell it like it is without fear of losing advertising (I've heard story's, whether true or not, of some of their advertisers bailing on them because of what they read in the paper). And I only wish more media would do the same.

  2. It's just a shame the paper “shuns the Web.” If it didn't, more of us
    people commenting on the situation would be able to see the paper and
    know more about it.

    As a reader, do you miss having a Web site to read the paper on, or
    are you content with the print edition?

    Michael Becker
    MSU News Service
    Montana State University

  3. I'm definitely not missing an online version of the paper. THe best part of picking up the paper for me each week is going down to the local coffee shop, sitting back in one of their big comfy couches and diving into a copy of Tri City. It's about the overall experience, not necessarily getting Tri City online which would be more convenient but not quite as fun. Tri City is not just a regular newspaper. It is very opinionated, very funny, and often very controversial. I think ultimately if the paper were online it wouldn't be as much fun for me. I look foward every week to my coffee shop relaxation with TriCity. Of course I could just bring my laptop but I've been doing this for so many years before WiFi that I'm used to it. I think Tri City's philosphy of keeping their content in print only is smart because they encourage their readers to get off their asses and support the local businesses that carry TriCity. You lose that with the web.

  4. Check out Dan Jacobson's radio interview with CBS radio here:

    Just scroll downt o about the middle of the page. Very interesting and gives you some good insight into the paper's success. Most interesting comment from Jacobson in the interview is that triCity's content, first and foremost, is why the paper has had such success.

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