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Good news is no news

When violent crime creeps up it’s often viewed as evidence that our cities are coming apart at the seams. It’s taken as an article of faith by liberals that the root cause is poverty, while conservatives point the finger at distractions caused by bogeymen such as “identity group politics.” Rising violent crime is almost always considered news, and it causes elected officials to demand that police departments get tough against offenders. In election years, greenhorn candidates hoping to knock off incumbents like to make noise about how those in power have turned a blind eye to violence and crime. When violent crime goes down, however, it’s not news. Except in places where it’s going up. In a recent editorial, the Fayetteville Observer reported that, “according to FBI statistics, violent crime in Fayetteville rose a stunning 23 percent in 2008. The sudden spike (violent crime declined in 2007) was in dramatic contrast with statistics for the rest of the state. Many cities, including Charlotte, Greensboro and Wilmington, saw declines in violent crime, and others — Raleigh and Durham — saw slight, single-digit increases.” For the record, the FBI’s Preliminary Annual Uniform Crime Report indicated that violent crime declined by 13.7 percent in High Point and by 6.7 percent in Greensboro from 2007 to 2008, while the agency was not able to report any change in Winston-Salem because of unusable numbers. — JG

Reluctant tweet

We — that is to say, I — don’t Twitter, mostly because I fel that I have enough on my plate already, but also because I think it’s a stupid waste of time. Then came this weekend’s demonstrations in Tehran, Iran after a stolen election and an uprising among the nation’s educated, empowered youth, brought to the world mostly in 140-character tweets. So, okay, fine. Twitter. It certainly proved this weekend that it does have some journalistic merit… in oppressive Middle Eastern countries. But here in First Amendment America, where we have unfettered internet access, Facebook, unlimited text-messaging plans, multiple e-mail accounts and a blog-to-human ratio that is rapidly approaching 1:1, I stick to my guns. — BC

Chicago Tribune trims down

Chicago Tribune has decided to cut the weekly Sunday magazine after its June 28 edition. This is the first in a series of changes the paper is planning for its Sunday paper. Tribune editor Gerould Kern announced that the magazine will now appear as themed issues throughout the year and will go out about once a month beginning in September. The downfall of the magazine comes after slumping advertising sales did not match the high cost to produce the publication. Additional changes planned for the Sunday edition of the Chicago Tribune include an introduction of World & Nation and Money and Real Estate sections. The World & Nation section will include obituaries and the Sunday weather page. The Money & Real Estate section will report information on home sales and personal finance that were previously featured in the House & Home and Your Money sections. The paper will also cut the Career Builder section and place it on the back of the Business section. Kern says that these changes come about in order to allow the Chicago Tribune to beef up “watchdog reporting, local news and digital publishing”. — LC

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