Friday, May 8, 2009

All the News That's Fit to Print ... and Punny Headlines Too

“Newspapers, however rare and financially weak, can adapt and ultimately conquer the threat posed by the Internet, the Justice Department’s Carl Shapiro told a House panel.

'We do not believe any new exemptions for newspapers are necessary,’ said Shapiro, an assistant attorney general for economics.”
From this week's Congressional hearing,
where newspaper executives pleaded
they need a change in antitrust law to survive
Truer words were never spoken.

Longtime readers know that my husband and I became disgusted with the sensationalistic coverage at the Dallas Morning News, canceled our subscription, and casting about for something to read with our morning coffee landed upon The Wall Street Journal. We knew not how well we chose at the time, but we know it full well now.

Even though the WSJ is a business and financial newspaper, surprisingly they have many articles that amuse, inform, and delight us every morning. Rare is the day that we don't have conversational fodder from several sources, especially as Tom and I have essentially different interests. Even more surprising is the way that the WSJ covers some business and financial news in a way that I actually am interested in reading. That is something I never could have predicted. Not all of it, mind you, but getting me to read any of it is quite a feat. As well, the editorial page has surprising sources for both authors and letters to the editor. As with all media, one must read with a discerning eye to the media's natural bent, but this is offset a surprising number of times by editorials proclaiming an opinion that one would definitely not expect in a conservative financial publication.

Our appreciation for the WSJ has been emphasized recently by the fact that the Dallas Morning News has been tossed on our lawn, evidently gratis, for the last week. What a shock to pick it up and find so little type for so many pages. Even more shocking was the reminder of how lackluster and lightweight their coverage has become. Even in the local and specialty sections (books, food, entertainment) there is mostly syndicated material which simply paddles in the shallow end of any subject. No need for a Congressional hearing to see why this newspaper isn't making it. I remember the days when there were vibrant movie, food, and religion sections (yes, that religion section made me look forward to the Saturday paper, believe it or not) which gradually have all been axed or pruned ruthlessly in favor of ... well, I'm not sure why. Our only assumption is that the accountants are running the papers instead of newspapermen. It is like seeing the local paper has become a Dallas edition of USA Today. Very sad.

Although I no longer miss the comics and found an online source for television listings, we do miss seeing local advertising. However, this has been largely replaced in our household by the ads in our neighborhood magazine and The Dallas Observer. For local news, the blogs of the Observer and D Magazine suffice, especially as most of it is something I do not miss either. In short, this may be the wave of future media: the rise of the small, specialized publication catering to specific areas.

Enough of that. Here are only a few of the stories I have enjoyed recently (you may also find some from further back here):
As well, another morning delight is that someone at the WSJ delights in word play as much as we do. It is not unusual for one or the other of us to suddenly read a headline aloud and then wait with a smile for the other to see the pun. In case this doesn't make me geeky enough, I have begun keeping them listed in a notebook. When I read them out to Mom the other day she was laughing aloud. These alone are enough to lure me through all the sections of the paper and often have me perusing a story I never would have seen otherwise. Here are just a few of my favorites:
  • Alcoa Foils Investors with Offering
  • GE to Shed Light on Its Properties
  • Can Palm Squeeze the Blackberry
  • McDonald's Pounds Out Good Quarter
  • Ban on Foot-Nibbling Fish Leaves Nail Salon on the Hook
  • A Look Into Future Oceans for Shellfish Reasons
And our current favorite, the one that made us both break into peals of laughter, which is a great way to begin the day:
  • The Cranes in Spain Point Mainly to a Strain
Thank you WSJ.

No comments:

Post a Comment