Ann Arbor.com 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 Arbor.com 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 Arbor.com. 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.