Symbolism over substance
December 13, 2007
“I happen to think these particular changes, as executed, make us look like too many others in the increasingly homogenized world of newspapers, a trend that I fear is contributing to the decline of the industry.” ” John Colson (“‘New look’ is an example of creeping sameness,” Aspen Times Weekly, Dec. 9.)
We’d all be better off if Aspen Times’ staff lamented the homogeneity of the paper’s content (all “progressive,” all the time), and spent less time bleating about the sameness of the paper’s new appearance.
It’s asinine to associate the decline in national newspaper circulation with something as insignificant as a paint job: Readers are rejecting the vehicle itself (print newspapers), because there’s a better alternative to establishment “news” and entertainment ” a much more spirited, raw and exciting ride ” and that experience is only a mouse-click away.
The left has been fairly accused of focusing on “symbolism over substance,” and the Times’ masthead redesign hysteria is a case in point. The Times needs a serious revitalization, but changing the hood ornament isn’t the answer to a sexier ride: Diversity of political viewpoint and opinion is what’s needed.
Establishment news (you know who you are) is in a losing race with a brawling, no-holds-barred Internet. Even as General Motors (Cadillac) is being overtaken by Toyota (Lexus), Detroit designers continue to twiddle with new paint formulations, and body metal redesign: If it’s “broke,” don’t change it.
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The arrogance of the entrenched, mainstream media is resulting in a similarly dismal trajectory, and nobody’s willing to try something different: Infuse some new ideas.
Let’s be honest: The Times’ masthead homogeneity represents “honesty in advertising,” because The Aspen Times strives, daily, to make itself like every other establishment newspaper in America. It’s a New York Times wannabe. Those Manhattanites may write better, dress better, and hold their noses a half-inch higher, but, editorially (and slanted news storywise ) the two papers share identical DNA.
The Aspen Times is the “Gray Lady’s” retarded, backwoods brother.