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Thursday, September 29, 2022
Editor’s NotebookEditor's Notebook: Priorities, news people, priorities

Editor’s Notebook: Priorities, news people, priorities

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One local newspaper that shall remain unnamed, but whose identity may not be hard for the cognoscenti to divine, spent less space on high-school sports coverage in this week’s edition than it did on a column from the owner castigating a good chunk of the country (the half that doesn’t subscribe to his unique worldview) as “pro-Confederate, pro-fascist and pro-Soviet” — a textbook trio of strange bedfellows, indeed …

Then there’s another local newspaper that spends more space weekly on a column that focuses largely on the never-ending medical travails of one staff member (and now his family) than on local sports coverage. I wish them all well in overcoming what ails them, it goes without saying, but it does seem a little bit of overkill to be writing about this week after week after week after week in a print edition where column inches are scarce.

Yep, I know that paying for the staff to actually go out and cover sports (not to mention local news) can break the bank for some in these tough times for local media, but lordy, even the newspaper owned by the richest man on the planet (depending on what day it is) has cut way, way, wayyyyyyyyyyyyy back on what used to be its robust high-school coverage.

People, people, people: Local sports coverage puts eyes on the prize, as in eyes on local newspapers and Websites. The decline in such coverage is both sad and, for local-media outlets who want to keep their readers, counterproductive.

SPEAKING OF SAME: During the relatively brief period that the Sun Gazette was part of a national news-media company, I headed up to Minneapolis for a confab with all the editors and publishers.

During the meeting, one of the corporate poobahs noted that he didn’t like spending resources on high-school sports, and would rather sports staffs redirect it to coverage of youth programs like Little League, soccer, etc.

Now, that coverage certainly has its place, as each week’s Sun Gazettes prove, but getting rid of high-school coverage? Cray-cray.

Much to my own employment-advancement detriment over the years, I tend to stand up and give my opinion whether solicited or not. In this instance, I said, “Well, tell you what, if we’re going to get rid of high-school-sports coverage, why not start with the papers in Texas and see how dropping Friday-night football coverage works out, before the rest of us follow?”

And then and there, the matter was dropped, although I probably got a demerit on my permanent record from management for daring to raise the point. Ah well, they came, they went, and for better or worse I’m still here.

I’M TRYING TO PUMP YOU UP, TREASURY DEPT.: Every once in a while, I have to go on the investor site of the U.S. Treasury Department, because for the moment at least a chunk of the, ah-hahahahaha!, vast wealth in my corner of the McCaffrey Organized Crime Family (a Cayman Islands LLC…) is stored in T-bills, Treasury bonds and the like.

At the end of every session online, the Treasury Dept. asks if I will rate the experience. And every time, I click on “Excellent,” because it never gives me any trouble.

Then the cumulative ratings come up, and for the past couple of months it has been stuck at 62% “Excellent” despite my best efforts to bump it up.

Still, pretty good, particularly when combined with the 27% who say the service is “Good.” The remainder of respondents are split between “Fair” (6%) and “Poor (4%).

– Scott McCaffrey

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