Thursday, March 18, 2010

Bitching about Local Newspapers


I never thought I’d give up on newspapers. To linger with a cigarette, a paper with a cup of coffee after breakfast seemed a forever thing in my routine. Now the stories in the local paper are mostly from the AP wire service and the New York Times. Local scandals are covered if they involve unpopular politicians (pick one) or greedy landlords. The only part of the paper I really miss is the crime report, and because I’m older now, I can guess or make up most of that with my eyes closed.

Here is some local stuff I’d like to know more about and need a journalist to research for me:

The Fry family – the illegal after hour flights the family jet makes into San Jose’s airport; The golf course they built without permits in Morgan Hill; The sweat shop conditions they use in their stores.
You hear things from outlier papers like the Gilroy Dispatch, or local Penny Saver types of rags – but nothing from the Mercury News.

(I can’t help but wonder because the largest, by far, advertiser in this paper is the Fry stores.)

Other stories might be an critical look at the Alum Rock school district – or promised public access to the Corde de Valle golf club in San Martin. All local – all fodder for the masses.

This is just off the top of my head stuff, if you are a reporter it should be your job to look for things like this – why can’t local papers investigate local matters more often? – if I want to read old NYT’s articles, I’ll get the Sunday issue and sit outside of Peet’s, smoking away the afternoon with a mocha and an ashtray.

(To be fair – The merc has done some local stuff – their investigation of the District Attorney’s office was excellent,)

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