News and information from inside the media bubble
by Brian Clarey, Jordan Green and Gus Lubin
Watching the watchers
Guilford County activist, sometime politician, substitute teacher and former journalist Eric EC Huey has started a blog called Triad Media Watch (www. triadmediawatch.blogspot.com) after reading a copy of the Sunday, Jan. 4 edition of the Greensboro News & Record. “TMW will be a regular examination of all things related to local media, print, TV and radio. This area lacks a regular “media columnist” so a lot of people, especially in Guilford County’s active blogging community have a lot to say about the direction of local media.” Um… ahem. Besides a few critiques on Greensboro’s Daily Paper, Huey, who has worked for the High Point Enterprise and the Las Vegas Review- Journal, takes a few shots at local TV news. Huey also writes the Guilford School Watch blog and GreensboroMetro blog, and ran unsuccessfully for Guilford County School Board last year. — BC
At a time when newspaper profits are down across the country, one North Carolina tabloid is making money through crime. The Slammer prints mug shots and rap sheets from recent arrests, including the names of alleged perpetrators and often with smarmy commentary. The tabloid, which is sold at convenience stores around Raleigh, Durham and Charlotte for one dollar, upped its circulation 95 percent last year to 29,000. Much of its high ad revenue comes from bail bondsman, lawyers and other crime-related businesses. Despite its popularity, many local bloggers and several newspapers have criticized the crime rag for indiscriminately exposing the un-convicted and wrongfully accused, as well as for embarrassing criminals and making light of serious crime.
Still, there are many, including criminals, who thrill to its humor, gossip and information. A Jerry Springer of the newsstand, the tabloid’s trashy columns include “Slammer Salon,” “Kiddie Korner” and “Mature Menaces.” Until The Slammer takes over the Triad, however, gossipmongers will have to make do with YES! Weekly’s own tasteful column, “Busted.” — GL
The Village Voice is more or less the template for the alt-weekly genre that best encompasses the journalistic and commercial platform that is YES! Weekly. Louis Menand’s essay in the Jan. 5 issue of The New Yorker explores some interesting paradoxes about the pathfinding Voice. The publication was famously slagged by Tom Wolfe in his manifesto and anthology, The New Journalism, which made a lasting impression on members of the editorial team here at YES! Weekly. The Voice with which I’m familiar from the late 1980s to the present has featured hard-boiled investigative journalism, flamboyant style, an urbane liberalism, pro-gay politics and honest but passionate criticism in the arts. Menand reveals that the Voice’s management at its inception was famously stingy with compensation to its contributors, many of them freelancers, and the non-union publication took advantage of a series of strikes in 1960s to dramatically increase its circulation as the trucks for The New York Times and other newspapers sat idle. The Voice was also a late convert to the gay-rights cause, and was not the New York paper leading the charge of the counterculture in the late 1960; that distinction goes to The East Village Other. What’s not news to anyone is that the Voice has been phenomenally lucrative for its publishers over the years. — JG