Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Ann Arbor.Com a Pile of Crap?

So, Jack Lessenberry, tell us what you really think!

Ann is an appalling pile of crap. And an insult to the intelligence of any functioning adult.

Essentially, it is written for children who are at about the fourth-grade level, possibly, slightly below-average ones. Here's what the top story on Ann was Sunday afternoon: DEXTER PHARMACY DAMAGED IN MINOR FIRE. ("A damage estimate is not yet available. No information was available on when the pharmacy will re-open.")

Not that there isn't a place for that kind of news. However, the real work of journalism is, say, examining how the city council works, spends money, gives out contracts. I would be astonished to see anything like that, ever, on Ann What makes the website a swindle is that they promise occasional "special reports." (Eat your heart out, Sam Donaldson.) For example, there was one last week.

We learned that — get ready for this — those who fancy child pornography tend "to keep it very hidden" and that most child molesters have child pornography on their computers. They are, a professor at Eastern Michigan University tells us, "looking for things that excite them." Who knew?

What, however, about the printed version that comes out twice a week? The one I examined (July 30) could have been written by a properly programmed computer. We learned, in a hard-hitting lead story, that old people want to hang on to their senior center.

Elsewhere, we are told that there is to be a city council election, find out that a poll shows that stress affects children, and are told how to host a block party ("Get a list of all the neighbors you have on the block …").

If this is the future face of journalism, we're in a lot of trouble. This is what we will get as publishers lay off professionals who have worked at their craft for years, and replace them with minimum-wage college grads who know html but don't know how to report or edit.

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