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It's a crime!
I felt depressed in reading Tammie Graves' letter last week about her seeking a career counselor at a community college (Letters, Aug. 19). I worked with Graves for many years at the Observer & Eccentric Newspapers, where she was a very creative and talented graphic artist before joining the Ann Arbor News. I also agree with Jack Lessenbery's earlier column that it's a crime that a town like Ann Arbor has to put up with a product that looks and reads like a high school publication. —Leonard Poger, Westland
Leonard Poger ain't alone. In fact, one of the most commented-upon stories on our website this month has been Jack Lessenberry's column "The newspaper scam" (Aug. 5). Here are some of the passionate comments about AnnArbor.com.
mitten posted: It's not unfair to hold AnnArbor.com to a standard of competence. They've paraded around the community for the past several months, telling us how great they were going to be, and, frankly, they're not. And their reporters aren't green or ignorant of their beats or lacking in contacts — many of them were with the Ann Arbor News for years. And if they managed to be reporters at the News and not develop those things during their time there, then AnnArbor.com should never have hired them. It might be their first week with AnnArbor.com, but it's definitely not their first week covering Ann Arbor news as professional journalists.
Piney Woods Guy posted: AnnArbor.com does not tolerate "fair comment about a public figure" on its chat boards. Such posts are quickly deleted. (I think they have a bot in East Syracuse, N.Y. that does this anti-First Amendment work.) I agree with Jack, why should anyone bother to read the vanilla pabulum that has, thus far, been spread upon the website? I used to read the entire Detroit News, Freep and Ann Arbor News every day, seven days a week, cover-to-cover (omitting only the sports and classifieds). So you would think a little drive-by reading of their website wouldn't be too onerous. But it is onerous. Well, like talk radio, I'm not forced to listen. I say this to yinz: It appears the management has incorrectly targeted those over the age of 50 to peddle their "product" to. Most over the age of 50 just don't get the Internet and 21st century communication. Management will lose! The fun will come when they attempt to cajole us into paying money for their content. Then we'll see who is right and who is clueless. ... So yinz AA.com moguls, go ahead and delete fair comment on public figures from your website. East Syracuse will pull the plug on yinz before the New Year dawns.
commentee posted: The entire argument here is based on the false assumption that the Ann Arbor News produced a kind of high-quality editorial content that demonstrated real depth and intelligence. Guess what: It didn't! The Ann Arbor News was just as bad, with the added benefit of killing trees seven (instead of two) days a week.
a2resident posted: In addition to the problems facing all other newspapers, I think the Ann Arbor News lost a lot of subscribers because it avoided important issues that it saw as "too controversial," and also because editorial content quality was sometimes low. I recall when it backed Bush for re-election because "you don't change a horse in midstream." Aside from the fact that Bush was an idiot who ruined the country, this was just a lame reason for an endorsement. However, even given its shortcomings, the News had many good reporters and its demise was tragic. One positive development in Ann Arbor is the creation of new sources for news. The Ann Arbor Chronicle (annarborchronicle.com) does excellent reporting on local politics, and Heritage Newspapers (which owns the Dexter Leader and Chelsea Standard) has stepped in with a weekly paper, the Ann Arbor Journal (www.a2journal.com) that covers local news. The Metro Times had an Ann Arbor edition for a while — maybe there is a renewed business opportunity here. Competition among the media is good for democracy!
Erratum: In the review of Merle Becker's American Artifacts rock posters documentary ("Art Brutes" by Bill Holdship, Aug. 19), it was reported that Becker was inspired by the book, The Art of Modern Rock by Paul Gruskin. The 2004 book was actually written by Paul Gruskin and Dennis King.
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