By Tomasz on Sep 15, 2009 in Media Watch
Apparently the far right lunatic fringe is now considered mainstream.
I don’t know about PDD-in-general, especially since it tends to be a rather loose affiliation of individuals and not a monolithic entity, but I’m all for being a harsh critic of the overpriced thin on content out-of-state paper masquerading as something local and relevant.
I would definitely say PDD users and commenters, particularly Tim K, are indeed harsh critics of the News Tribune. There have been a lot of examples of this.
But “a harsh online critic of the mainstream Duluth News Tribune” is a strange way to describe this Web site as a whole. It’s sort of like describing Business North as a newspaper that covers the banking industry.
I hope that pointing this out doesn’t make me a harsh critic of Business North. I’ve done a lot of writing for that paper and hope to do more some day!
Duluth News Tribune tries to be too many things.
If I were DNT CEO …
…I’d fix pages to a nice seo url and not require login, EVER.
…I’d then stop doing the half-assed video broadcast in their own player and release it to a real video service that is widely distributed or get rid of it altogether. Or make it a reality show with scripts and bad camera shaking and everything. Stop the dead air! Make a morning show? Interview people? Have scenes from plays that around town?
…I’d then let each staff member do whatever they wanted to help the newspaper for a 4 hour block in a 2 week period. Let them interview whoever they want. Following passions is sorely needed.
If all else fails I will just go the route they are already going and push an ALL Grandma’s bragbook format. Coupons, cute kids, cuter dogs! “Oh that is Dorothy’s daughter swimming with dolphins, isn’t that cute?”
Paul, you are the only reason I have ever picked up a Business North magazine.
Think they may have confused DCB with PDD.
Mevdev, the idea that you would be a fan of my business reporting is so weird I can’t even deal with it.
“…I’d then let each staff member do whatever they wanted to help the newspaper for a 4 hour block in a 2 week period. Let them interview whoever they want. Following passions is sorely needed.”
How very Google of you.
I wouldn’t call being critical of the DNT as being PDD’s “niche.” I too am wondering if they mistook PDD for some other local blog. Weird.
I’m a harsh online critic of the tendency to capitalize each individual word in a URL.
“mainstream” isn’t exactly a word I’d use to describe the DNT.
I would hope that they meant to say PDD has found a niche as a mainstream critic of the online Duluth News Tribune.
Judging from the comments on the DNT website on a daily basis, I’d say the harshest critic of the DNT is the online DNT reader.
Considering all the vitriol spewed at the DNT on this website (Oh my God, you endorsed McCain! You bastards!) it’s amusing to see folks here suddenly backpedaling.
It’s amusing to see Farglebargle refer to any of these comments as “backpedaling.”
I don’t think “backpedaling” is the right word. I don’t see anyone above saying they/we have never criticized the DNT.
Speaking for everyone (sorry, and correct me if I’m wrong, no single person here actually represents the entire PDD community) but I think most people are surprised that this single aspect of PDD was singled out as the defining characteristic of our website.
Sure, we tend to be quite critical of the DNT, and I am no exception. But that really isn’t the primary focus of what we’re all doing here. PDD doesn’t exist to criticize anybody. But it does primarily attract people who care about this city.
Speaking for myself, caring about Duluth goes hand-in-hand with caring about the community’s news media. The DNT, like all newspapers these days, is going through tough changes, and a lot of us here in Duluth don’t agree with responses Forum Communications has made to those changes.
But that isn’t the defining characteristic of PDD.
I think PDD is a harsh online critic of creepy Japanese things and scabies/no-see-ums.
I hate the scabies. But I don’t mind the no-see-ums.
Speaking only for myself:
I’ve been a harsh critic of the Duluth News Tribune in comments on this site, on the Duluth News Site, and even while talking to my own mother. The DNT has been a pretty slim on content for a long time, but when Forum took over it got even worse. Never have I read a paper that so closely resembled worthless local television news. Which means cover a few human interest stories of the feel-good inconsequential variety, cover one or two examples of local crime (better stay out of Central Hillside!), syndicate an opinion piece by a soulless DC think-tanker, and then on to sports and weather.
Please don’t get me started on the DNT website. It really doesn’t make them look like they have more content because each article is on the homepage in five different places.
To pretend like the DNT serves the community is as ridiculous as pretending PDD serves to criticize the DNT.
When your protest is, “That’s not all we do!” that sounds like backpedaling to me. Why act like you’re ashamed of it? Be proud! Put it in the banner, “PDD, the DNT whacker!”
Otherwise, if you can come up with nine better words to describe PDD than “harsh online critic of the mainstream Duluth News Tribune,” have at it. Maybe you should have a contest.
Generally speaking, compared to most sites, forums, blogs, and such, PDD is relatively positive and forward-thinking.
In that spirit, I would like to hear about any good newspapers in communities the size of Duluth, and why they are good, and especially why their websites are good. What should the DNT be emulating at this critical juncture in print media? I can vouch that the DNT is listening to you right now. So, who in this size of market and in this business climate is doing it right? Let’s point them in the right direction.
No armchair quarterback ideas. Let’s see examples from those who are doing it well.
Farglebargle, no one is acting like they’re ashamed of it. That’s the point.
I see a clear niche opportunity here for an enterprising, unashamed lurker to become a harsh critic of farglebargle.
To the Duluth News Tribune:
I like when newspapers have links to their past coverage on a topic beneath the current article. That way it’s easier to put the new news into context (this is a good time to temporarily suspend the fee for related archived articles).
When I email someone a link to an article it helps if they don’t have to create a login to read that one article. I like how the login requirements on some papers don’t kick in until after a few page views.
Also, whenever I try to print an article, even when I use the print function, the right side of all the lines gets cut off. This doesn’t happen with other papers.
The website feels cluttered and redundant. It seems like a computer generated mismash. The gold standard for newspaper websites is the NY Times (obviously a bigger market), but the layout could be emulated. I want the DNT for news about Duluth, but when I click on “Duluth” all I get is random pictures from articles weeks ago and blog posts. Think Zen.
Even on a tight budget I’d like to see some investigative reporting every once in a while to show us you’re on the side of citizens. For a great example of this look to the Star Tribune, who even while in bankruptcy, has done excellent reporting on the Gang Strike Task Force.
Slow news day? Some papers reprint articles or well-written columns from the distant past that are either interesting historically or shed a different light on the issues of the day. I would love to open the DNT and learn more about this town’s storied past.
I like newspapers that use their facilities to be the arbitrator of a public debate. It is not a newspapers job to be an echo chamber to repeat mistruths stated by those who have an agenda or are mistaken. Use your resources to fact check and then set the record straight. All is not relative.
What is the Mayor doing? What happened at the city council meeting? What is Oberstar trying to do for NE Minnesota through his committee chairmanship? How will the actions of the MN legislature, or of the governor effect Duluth? Maybe these questions could get some in depth analysis in the paper.
The NY Times Sunday wrote an explosive article about water pollution Sunday and released the violation data obtained through the Freedom of Information Act from the EPA’s of all 50 states. Has the DNT looked at this data to see who is polluting Lake Superior? Have you called North Shore Mining for comment? Anybody see a story somewhere here?
Hopefully, this comes across as constructive and not harsh. Any other critics out there feeling constructive?
Barrett, you’re doing it now, playing up the “positive” aspect of PDD when the main appeal is the snark and cynicism. Which is fine. It could stand to be less mean-spirited (wildgoose, I’m looking at you) but the rah rah cheerleading of the DNT could use a tonic. (I roll my eyes whenever they run an editorial denouncing “negativitism.” Be positive about negativity!)
As far as them endorsing McCain, big deal. They would have caught flack no matter who they endorsed.
BTW, BusinessNorth, despite its name, is neither a cheerleader nor a vanguard of conservatism. Start with this editorial here. http://www.businessnorth.com/editorials.asp?RID=3126
Anyway I didn’t intend to be the center of this argument, so I’m done.
I personally have never thought that the main appeal of PDD is the snark and criticism, if anything it’s the opposite.
I visit the site to see what’s going on in the community, be it cultural events, news (yes, some that may go unreported in the ‘mainstream’ press) and the occasional spirited discussion about topics such as this.
However, if PDD was *all* stuff like this, I’d never visit, much as I do not visit DCB, which IMHO is too much negativity and griping, and not enough doing something to improve the community.
I just hate it when I come across as mean-spirited. Snark is so tough for me to pull off sometimes, but it’s always intended to make me look good, never to make anyone else look bad, not much anyway. How’s that for self-serving? But anyway, sorry Farglebargle.
I am back to the headline “MaCain is Northland Pick for the Next Pres”.
How can you point a finger at a blog like this after the political propaganda that was printed before the prez race.
PS Free speech is just that and everybody has the right to the truth no matter what your media says.
Snark and cynicism are annoying, worthless, and overused in our society. Intelligent debate and informed complaints are where it’s at, and PDD is very good at those things compared to most community websites.
I am not trying to be overly positive. I just would really like to see if *any* newspaper of the DNT’s size is doing it right.
The Columbia Journalism Review named the top 100 Newspapers.
“Concord Monitor” in Concord, NH followed by the “Anniston Star” in Anniston, AL were the top listed with cirulations under 30,000.
An explanation of DNT endorsements: http://bit.ly/qnMaz
Just piping in to say I come to PDD for interesting, off-beat, creative, snarky things about my community.
I think the real issue with the article might be that dusu.com is looking at a similar audience -- though what I’ve seen, it’s a bit boring. PDD’s comments section is what makes this website THE go-to community webby -- snark and all!
Lily Tomlin once said
“No matter how cynical I become, I just seem to keep up.”
Hey I hear that other blog that’s a “harsh critic” of everything that’s good and beautiful about Duluth has been foaming at the mouth all month, and especially since the primary, at the prospect of “Homos” and “Carpet Munchers” taking over the city of Duluth. It’s hilarious, watching these crazies implode so publicly.
This is clearly no /b/.
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