Bring back yellow journalism!

At least it’s usually interesting.  Not to mention, local.

In the process of commenting on the way that the Washington Post – a paper presumably interested in goings-on in Washington, DC – seems only interested in the Kwanzaa Diggs shooting on the Op-Ed page, R.S. McCain notes:

Murder is news. Rape, robbery and drug busts are also news. And guess what? Crime coverage, if done right, sells papers. If the Washington Post can’t be bothered to cover a shooting that leaves one teenager dead and two others wounded, what the hell is the point of publishing a newspaper?

Good cops-and-courts reporting used to be a staple of American journalism. Was such coverage sometimes lurid and sensationalist? Sure. But it sells newspapers. The problem is that too many people in our newsrooms for the past several decades have failed to understand that they’re in a business, the object of which is to sell the product and make a profit.

Where I differ with Stacy is that I think that this is only half of the problem; the other half is that the people running the papers today don’t really understand that, by and large, if the American reading public wanted a national paper that defined the news we’d already have one.  The New York Times likes to think of itself in such terms; so does the Washington Post, and the Los Angeles Times had some pretensions along those lines.  The fact that all three papers are in financial trouble right now has apparently not been taken into account. Continue reading Bring back yellow journalism!