The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

29 December 2004

Fighting for the lower rungs

Five years ago, The Oklahoman was sliced and diced by the Columbia Journalism Review, which pronounced it "The Worst Newspaper in America". (Your humble blogazoid duly reported on the announcement here.)

A lot has happened since 1999: Eddie Gaylord has shuffled off this mortal coil, Patrick B. McGuigan has departed the editorial page, and the paper has undergone some substantial visual upgrades. I still don't think it's anyone's dream daily, but I doubt it could qualify for Worst Newspaper in America anymore — mostly because it doesn't employ as a columnist anyone as manifestly self-absorbed and ill-mannered as Nick Coleman of the StarTribune in Minneapolis.

There is, I suggest, something uniquely warped about someone who expends a whole column of presumably valuable newspaper space to vent spite, and not well-thought-out spite at that, upon a blog, while simultaneously explaining that he's much, much more important than mere bloggers.

I give Coleman this much: he's managed to wangle about half a million Google references to himself in a relatively short time, not an inconsiderable achievement. For me, one of the merest of the mere, this might seem like a good way to push my Warhol-allotted fifteen minutes up to, say, 16:05 or so. On the other hand, I can't see myself mocking, say, The Oklahoman's Tom Lindley, whose worst fault is an occasionally-aggressive blandness.

And, oh, a quandary: what happens if Nick Coleman bumps into Stribmate James Lileks in the hallway? Will there be total annihilation and the release of massive quantities of energy? Now I'm worried.

Posted at 12:00 PM to Almost Yogurt


TrackBack: 12:13 PM, 29 December 2004
» Worried? from Shot In The Dark
Dustbury asks:What happens if Nick Coleman bumps into Stribmate James Lileks in the hallway? Will there be total annihilation and the release of massive quantities of energy? Now I'm worried.You needn't worry about a matter/antimatter explosion; the ea......[read more]

TrackBack: 3:08 PM, 29 December 2004
» Time for Another Googlebomb from Yippee-Ki-Yay!

Some newspaper columnists can be such immature, petty, embarrassing creatures. Nick Coleman, in particular, is an immature, petty, embarrassing creature. Don't you think a newspaper like the Minneapolis Star-Tribune would be ashamed to feat...

...[read more]

TrackBack: 6:29 PM, 29 December 2004
» State of the News Media from Tulsa Topics
I ran across a website today that caught my attention,Journalism.org- The State of the News Media 2004. Anything you ever wanted to know about the "State of the News Media" can probably be found here. Even though I didn't spend a lot of time at the......[read more]

Wel, I don't know if you'll get half a million, but at least I was linked here. The miracles f the Internet . . .you never know where you're going next.

2 small points:
1) Who cares what the Columbia organ says? Certainly not the people of Oklahoma. Unfortunately, many publishers and editors are older people, and still think that they should be concerned of what a few people in NY say about them. We younger folksm in this particlaur instance, know a little better. The opinion of the Columbia thing is one man's opinion, just like the editorial of any given paper is one man's opinion. It's essentially meaningless. It no more shapes opinion than a dinner debate.

2) It's ironic that no name Coleman suddenly becomes a somebody through his tirade. I sometimes think that the right inadvertetnlky helps the left by trupmeting what they say. They ought simply to be ignored. Rather than focusing on mocking liberals, whihc is too easy, the right should focus on getting laws repealed.

Posted by: David at 12:10 PM on 29 December 2004

Why would an editor let someone write a personal attack, unless they agreed with the idiot. If I were a subscriber, I would be pissed that someone can use what I pay for to write a personal message because I am a sissy. Cancel your subscription now!

Posted by: rytleener at 12:15 PM on 29 December 2004

Charles, You are absolutely right about Coleman. Wow. Why do they keep such a $%^*? As for the Dai...err...THE OKLAHOMAN, you are right in that the look is much more appealing. However, there still is very little good journalism going on over there. Stan Tiner (remember him?) demanded excellence and hard-hitting journalism and was rewarded with red carpet treatment to the exit door. The reporters hated him as he made them WORK and it just didn't work as the old-timers held too much sway with the Gaylords. What a shame. Now, as you pointed out, it looks better - but for the most part it's the same old soft schlock that is laughed at by larger market print journalists.

Posted by: Mike at 12:22 PM on 29 December 2004

I remember Tiner; I wrote a (in retrospect, premature) laudatory piece about him with the unfortunate title "White Knight at the Black Tower."

Pertinent quote:

From the looks of things, Tiner has issued two commands: "Make this paper look less like a throwback to the 1950s," and "Get this paper's perceived politics out of the 1850s."

It couldn't last, and it didn't, but it was surely worth the effort.

Posted by: CGHill at 1:42 PM on 29 December 2004

I sometimes think that the right inadvertently helps the left by trupmeting what they say.

That's assuming that giving Coleman's emissions wider exposure is somehow helpful to him or to the left in general. I rather believe that there is such a thing as bad publicity. In fact I think even Dan Rather believes it, now.

Posted by: McGehee at 3:01 PM on 29 December 2004