Monday, July 6, 2009
So, Sunday is the only day we get the Dallas Morning News now. We used to get it every day, but then when they quit responding to our stop paper requests on vacations, we canceled the subscription. We got an offer for Sunday only, and decided to give it a whirl again. It's an easy whirl, given that the paper is so light and I only allow myself to read the first three graphs of any Rod Dreher or Steve Blow column. But imagine my - no, wait, a little background is an order here. Just a few short years ago, I was responsible for not only cleaning the newspaper bathroom, but also writing all major stories and designing the paper - laying it out, as it's called in newsroom vernacular. So reading the print version of TDMN is not just an exercise in frustration because of some of the writing (btw, Elizabeth Souder rocked that T. Boone Pickens story Sunday), but also because of the design. So imagine my dismay to page through the paper to find this gem - a black and white photo of fireworks. May I just ask how many layers of boneheadedness did that have to go through before it landed in my yard. I can see being an overworked copy editor and it not registering. But doesn't this page go through at least two more layers before it makes it to the press? At some point, shouldn't someone have said, "You know, this is a great photo, but a black and white picture of fireworks is really kinda stupid?" And then it also dawned on me - we can expect more of this. Through mismanagement - which led to decimating the newsroom and overworking people who were already overworked anyway - there is literally nobody there to say, "Guys, we can't put a freakin' black and white picture of fireworks in the paper." So while I thoroughly intended to mock Dallas' Only Daily for this, all I can really muster is a slow head shake, and going to find a black mourning band for my sleeve. Because really, while this may seem small to many, it's one of many symptoms that this patient is very, very ill. This photo is one of many death rattles over the past year, and management has given every indication they've signed a DNR. Let's sit shiva for the Dallas Morning News, and try to figure out how we're going to accurately tell the story of Dallas in years to come without it.