Saturday, February 12, 2011

Feb. 11: okay. So I took a day off...

It's standard practice for The Moncton Times and Tribune to refer to Moncton and its region as "Metro".

Now, Moncton is a nice city - friendly, attractive -but it's a very small city; so "metro" is just a bit pretentious.  Nor will it fool any visitor who comes to an event here. They'll take a look at our newspaper. And every page of it screams "Hicksville".

Take the Feb. 11 issue, for example. The front page has two free ads disguised as news stories, (Motorcycle show rolls into Metro Moncton, and Hub Cap promises lots of laughs), then a piece of feel-good boosterism  (Team NB goes for gold). I wish the team well. But this is something for an inner page - perhaps in the sports section.

The banner headline is a non-news story about census workers being hired. The bottom of the page (New Era of justice arrives in Moncton - be grateful they didn't say metro). The 'new era' is one hell of a grand way to announce we have new courtroom facilities. There is no way that this trivia is a first page story. And it gets worse. There are also two full page of photos of exciting things like a room with a table in it, and a car in a garage. Oh, yes. Just below the headline are the words ECIAL REPORT. What's so ECIAL about it? I've seen lots of reports ECIALER than this one. (This, incidentally, is on the first page of a newspaper that is encouraging literacy in the schools.)

There's not a single, real news story on the whole front page.

Page A2. The major "story" is a free ad for the hockey team. Yet another appears in the sports section. The hot story is that the Sea Dogs are ahead in the race for the Rivalry Cup. Boy! That'll certainly grab the attention of big city visitors to Moncton. Then they'll know what an up and coming place this is.
Page A 3 is mostly ads.

Page A 4 is irrelevant stories continued from p. 1.

Put it all together, and the first section has, at best, thrree, quite short news stories. The rest is bad journalism and ads.

The Life and Times section has another full page of the motorcycle show followed by four pages of trivia and ads.

Salvation came with the editorial and op ed pages. The Moncton TandT usually does well with some first rate commentators. This time was the best of times. All four were first rate.

The editorial, as always, was a dismal effort. This time it was one of those pieces of boosterism that screams hicksville to anybody who has ever read a real newspaper.

Apart from the opinion columns and the NY Times crossword, there's just nothing to read in this paper. If we are really out to attract visitors and want to impress them (with what is, in truth,) a very attractive small city), maybe we should make it a point to keep The Moncton Times and Transcript out of sight.

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