Friday, June 24, 2011

Indianapolis Star Dying on Vine

Indianapolis' highest circulated daily newspaper still remains a profitable venture for Gannett, but it wasn't enough for 62 staff members to keep their jobs at the Indianapolis Star.

The Indy daily continues to mirror the loss of jobs in the newspaper industry, and we are rapidly losing a vibrant force in not only political commentary but reporting, in general.

Television stations can't cover things the way newspapers can, and, yes, the Indianapolis Star has been long known as a paper that is not kind to those on the left. In recent years, we've seen the Star become more moderate, but it still is most of the time a right-of-center publication.

What tv can't match is the depth of stories available in print. When you look back at the great work that Matt Tully has done in recent years on Manual High School or on the Phoenix Apartments, you get the feeling of what a powerful property a print news organization can be. It's something to lament for this journalism-degree-holder. The loss of newspapers is a loss to our society. It's happening.

According to the IBJ, the Star is developing and moving more towards an online presence. Perhaps someday soon, Star readers will have to log on to the internet instead of walking to the newspaper slot. That will be a sad day for people that love newspapers.

These are people like Ruth Holladay. Ruth is a former popular writer and columnist at the Star, and she continues to hold Gannett's feet to the fire on her blog. I used to link to her blog, but for some reason, her updates wouldn't come through. Her blog is an excellent resource to the systematic deflowering that Gannett is doing to the Indy Star.

You know, there was a time that my grandmother, Twila Easter, would start her day and take at least a couple of hours going through the paper. She would start at the back and move to the front making sure to do the crossword puzzle, read the comics, and check the obituaries. She did that almost daily until her death in 1996. Today, she likely could get through the Star in a few minutes. The paper continues to shrink.

I guess I'm part of the problem. I haven't subscribed to the Star in years, but it's mostly because I don't think it's worth it. Beyond the Sunday paper, there's not much in there except cursory reporting. I'm convinced that someday the Indy Star will simply be a stapled 8 1/2 by 11 sheet in nine point type.

Love it or hate it, the destruction of the Indy Star has been painful to watch, and, while I am at it, I REALLY miss the Indianapolis News.

1 comment:

Doug said...

As a native Hoosier, I grew up reading the Star. Once upon a time it was a decently written paper despite an arch-conservative editorial bias that permeated every word it printed. It was like living next door to a rending plant; the smell is awful but you get used to it.

I'm distressed at the collapse of print media and I'll miss having another local institution end. However, I think it deserves to die. It has willfully maintained and promulgated a social and political perspective that is at least 50 years out of date; typified by the hateful, unfunny Varvel cartoons. (His drawings look like he went to one of those art schools that used to advertise on matchbooks.)

It should have reflected the sort of City that we think we are and want to be. Instead, it has perpetuated the worst of Hoosier sterotypes; frightened of anything new, stingy, anti-intellectual. Goodbye Star and good riddance.