The Lincoln Plawg - the blog with footnotes

Politics and law from a British perspective (hence Politics LAW BloG): ''People who like this sort of thing...'' as the Great Man said

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Monday, June 28, 2004

Give the ombud a rattle!

On June 23, I noted Sac Bee ombud Tony Marcano's piece on long series.

He's back again this week on the same subject. It clearly worries him [1].

The fact is that any subject can be made interesting to some people; but no piece can command the attention of all. And no one can successfully be ordered to find a topic, or a particular treatment, interesting, though moral blackmail or conformism may get him to fake it [2]!

A paper that managed to fill its pages with pieces none of which commanded the interest of more than a handful of readers would go broke; but how many readers, even of so prestigious rag as the Bee, would actually bother to read each day - with attention and in their entirety - pieces representing, say, 80% of the news-hole?

Besides, part of the excitement of reading a newspaper, surely, is the lottery element: one man's series of the year is another man's fish wrapping.

There is quite enough wrong with the news business without inventing problems that don't exist.

Speaking of which, what has Marcano done later about anonymous sourcing in the Bee? Could the series thing possibly be misdirection?

  1. Is his pursuing the point into a second piece some fancy-pants meta joke on the subject of series? I only asked...

  2. A couple of years' blogging has sufficed to make it clear to me that there is neither rhyme nor reason behind what I find interesting. (And that interests wax and wane over time.) But it's clear enough that I cannot write on anything that, at the time, I don't.

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