Little Trouble in Big China
Also inside the bag was a green flyer pushing the paper's "Olympic Special," and all I could do was dream of the contests in a N-P Olympics--the Steepleton 100 yard dash to a donut, the Armstrong wrong way drunken drive 100, the Apodaca and then there were none marathon, the Cappello synchronized suing. Seriously, though it seems I could get 12 weeks of 7 day home delivery for $20. First, that must mean the next round of circulation figures gets determined in October. Second, that's 24¢ a day, so you might call this a loss leader. Third, the flyer looks as if it were designed by a Cub Scout pack member or something, definitely not what you'd expect from people who print things for a living. It's got some clip art columns on each side for "visual appeal" but as far as I know, the Chinese aren't into the Ionic column thing. I know the Olympics started in Greece, but just because I was born in NJ doesn't mean I expect anything about me to feature a Hadrosaurus foulkii.
Of course, the big sell for the flyer is that "The Santa Barbara News-Press is excited to be sending one of our very own to Beijing China. We are the only local news source who will be providing a local view on this exciting world event." There's no word if they'll bring the "one of their own" they send back from Beijing, so that person better be careful--The Chinese are tougher on their journalists than even Wendy is, even if both share a penchant for blocking websites. And all kidding aside, usually part of the point of a sell like this one is to trumpet who that fine reporter will be. Back in 2004 when the News-Press was still a paper it built a whole ad campaign about John Zant reporting live from Athens; in fact his work can still be found on the News-Press website, and not behind the paywall, even. What this means is our town's paper has writers no one knows by name. And no, Staff Report is not a name. In 2004 the paper was proud to say Zant was covering his 7th Olympics for the paper. Now it's possible the writer going to Beijing will be writing his or her 7th story for the paper.
It's also telling that our local news source is most proud about covering an event an ocean away. We're talking about a local paper so committed to its community it couldn't even post all its stories about the recent Gap Fire for free, as a public service or something.
I already called the 800 number on the flyer to report littering as I found a mass of paper on my driveway that doesn't belong. If it happens again I am going to report a violation of V.C. 42001.7 and hope that the police will be willing to prosecute. I really don't appreciate garbage being thrown on my property.