Letters From the Issue of Thursday, June 21, 2007


Curb job: Too funny ("Amazing! Terry Goddard Grows a Spine, Kicks Sheriff Joke to the Curb," Feathered Bastard blog). Let's hope that Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard continues to grow that spine and investigates Candy Ass Thomas and Bozo Joke Arpaio for the well-known corruption they both stand for.
Name withheld by request

And Joe will fall: You know who needs to grow a backbone? Maricopa County Board of Supervisors members. They hold the purse strings, and they can hold Joe accountable for his slime. They could shut down Tent City tomorrow if they wanted to. They're the ones responsible for letting Joe run amok. Get them to follow Terry Goddard's lead, and Joe falls.
Name withheld by request


Itll be interesting, indeed: I want to congratulate you on the article "It's a Wrap" by Sarah Fenske (June 7). She aptly explained the Arizona Republic's business model, and how its employees are dealing (or not) with the changes.

I was glad to see that she addressed issues related to content and journalistic integrity. Things were certainly different when the Pulliams owned the newspaper, but those days are gone. We live in a different world in so many ways. I think this decade has a lot in common with the '60s in the respect that we are experiencing a real shift in our paradigms. People don't get their news from the newspaper or TV anymore. Things are wide open for media outlets. In fact, the very definition of a media outlet is changing. The traditional media sources are trying to figure out where they fit in to this new structure, or even if there's a structure to fit into.

Can a newspaper be all things to all people when the market is narrowly fragmented? How does a local newspaper remain powerful when fewer people are aware of it? How do journalists maintain accuracy when so many competitors don't seem to worry about it?

This business model will save Gannett money, but I don't believe it's going to be successful at stemming the decline in readership, circulation, or ad dollars. As a news organization, the Republic is facing more competition right here in the Valley than ever before. It seems as though each community has its own magazine, there's the weekly Independent, New Times, and in the East Valley, the Tribune. When I want local news, I don't turn only to the Republic. It doesn't offer me anything new or unique, and like most people today, I want my information from a variety of sources.

Making the central news source for the Republic and Channel 12 is a risky move. It's subject to trendiness, and it's not conducive to long-term viewership unless the organization behind it is ready to commit financial and other resources to keep up with an ever-changing industry. It can't be done on the cheap, and as the article pointed out, Gannett already is in a cost-cutting mode.

It'll be interesting to see how the Republic succeeds using this business model, and how long Gannett will hold on to the paper in the face of declining readership, circulation, and ad dollars. It'll be interesting, too, to see what becomes of
Tom Mihalchick, Gilbert

Disgruntled escapee: Having spent almost four years at the Republic as a reporter before moving back to my hometown, Miami, I have been able to see how the Internet and the decline of newspaper readership has affected the Miami Herald in a negative way.

Like the Republic, the Herald is frequently criticized and has experienced a drop in circulation. It has gone through corporate restructuring, the questionable firing of a prominent columnist, and accusations of unethical and biased reporting.

And although the Herald is not nearly as accomplished as it was during the 1980s, when it won eight Pulitzer Prizes, it still produces hard-hitting, in-depth articles that the Republic would never dare attempt.

It's obvious a newspaper can adjust to the changes of technology without sacrificing quality journalism. Unfortunately, the editors at the Republic couldn't recognize quality journalism if it landed on the doorstep every morning in a streamlined, easy-to-read tabloid complete with colorful graphics.
Carlos Miller, Miami

Missing the point?: The pique about the shrunken Monday edition is understandable and good to hear, of course. But New Times' comment on updating news stories and not polishing for the next day's edition misses a point. Older reporters and editors (I am retired) remember when newspapers had more editions and when they frequently turned out a story for an early edition and then added to it and polished it for later editions. Whining about having to put something out "right now" reflects how spoiled journalists have become and how accustomed to having all day to write a breaking news story. Breaking news is just that, and although a newspaper seems to undermine itself by putting breaking news online throughout the day, better that than letting radio and television have that role unchallenged. What newspapers need to do to compete is to turn out — in addition to shorter, breaking online stories — the best available reports for readers the next morning, stories that go beyond the headline and into the greater significance of the events, that offer deeper insight and information than does anyone else.