The Worst “Blind Pews” of U.S. Newspapers, PT II

You might think that as you move down the list of large American newspapers, away from the tradition-laden (tradition-handicapped?) major metros of the east and west coasts (and, OK, Chicago), that you might find a greater connection between a newspaper and its community (e.g., more local bloggers and vloggers on the papers’ websites).

After all, among the 19 largest circulation metro dailies, we only found seven papers that welcomed bloggers — Denver, Dallas, Houston, Detroit, Minneapolis, Phoenix, and Cleveland (hmmm, no east or west coast papers among that group….). It HAD to get better, right?


Sad to say, local bloggers are no more likely to be integrated into daily newspaper websites as you move down to papers below 400,000 circulation.

Of the next 15 largest metro newspapers (numbers 20-34), only five integrate local bloggers (Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Portland Oregonian, Indianapolis Star, Orlando Sentinel and San Antonio Express-News).

So, as editors wave goodbye to more and more laid-off, right-sized, bought-out staffers, those editors remain as incapable as “Blind Pew” of seeing the rich content being created all around them. As the old proverb goes, “God protects fools, children and drunkards,” but probably not purblind editors and the newspapers they work for.

Of the top circulation newspapers in the U.S., these are numbers 11-20 that have chosen to ignore the existence of top-quality bloggers in their midst. (See my Top Ten list here.)

11.    The St. Petersburg Times: Bloggers are about as visible as the Devil Rays in the playoffs (but, giving the devil his due: they do have a cute and largely ignored site where the proletariat can play and not sully the rep of the Times).
12.    Seattle Times: The fog (physical and intellectual) at the Times must be intense because they can’t see what their JOA partner, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, is doing right under their noses (more than 200 local bloggers!)
13.    St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Meet Me in St. Louis? Not if you’re a blogger looking to break into print or the paper’s website.
14. Milwaukee Post-Sentinel: Laverne and Shirley would feel completely at home; it’s like nothing has changed since their sit-com went off the air in ’83. No radical stuff like reader blogs in this newspaper. Nosiree.
15. The Baltimore Sun: If Edgar Allan Poe were a local blogger today, he wouldn’t stand a chance of getting into the Sun, unless he wanted to share a cute picture of his cat or dog or his wedding (but he married his cousin, so the editors probably would have nixed it….).
16.   The Kansas City Star: The “Show Me” state’s junior metro daily doesn’t show squat when it comes to community involvement, unless you count their two specialty pubs  — Ink (a terrific alt-paper mimic) and Mom2Mom — both of which are crawling with a delightful mix of serious and silly local blogs.
17.    The Columbus Dispatch: Whoa, I KNOW websites didn’t exist in the 60s, but this one sure looks like it did … and it hasn’t changed since. But, give them credit, they DO know there weren’t any bloggers in the 60s, so they don’t have any now, either!
18.    Miami Herald: Crockett and Tubbs were the last New Wave to hit Miami. So far this month, the Herald’s sterile website has attracted readers to post in a mere 12 of 31 reader forums! Some “most recent posts” were in JANUARY! Would bloggers want to be here even if they were invited?
19.    Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Pittsburgh will apparently see another World Series Championship (last one was 1979) before they see bloggers in the 222-year-old newspaper.
20.    Orange County Register: No local bloggers. No surprise. There’s no one left in the newsroom after four rounds of layoffs beginning in 2006. Circulation is also at an all-time low with the paper dropping from third largest in California to fifth. All the more reason to welcome local content creators into the fold.

NEXT POST: The best U.S. newspapers in the use of top-quality local bloggers: Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Portland Oregonian, and the Indianapolis Star (I’ve already heaped praise on the very best: The Houston Chronicle). I’ll also look at the local blogger success of the Kansas City Star’s specialty pubs (Ink and Mom2Mom)


4 responses to “The Worst “Blind Pews” of U.S. Newspapers, PT II

  1. Then there’s the issue of how fast any brick-and-mortar media can generate a revenue/blog relationship.

    Turnaround seems incredibly slow. Gatehouse Media allegedly got the guts of BostonNOW’s Internet blog plan (past and what was intended to be its future) back in April.

    Still, no big changes over there and Editor & Publisher all but rings the death knell for the 100-plus corp:

    Can it be that the business side of the news is so ultimately rooted in obsolete-think that even available content and motivated professionals can’t overcome the overwhelming inertia?

    Perhaps we have to destroy the village to save it?

  2. hahahah you get cheekier and cheekier with these! I love it!

  3. Come on John, don’t let this site die!

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