Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Is the QC Times irrelevant???

Understand I am a newspaper guy. I start my day my reading three and then going on line for a few others. My three papers are the QC Times, Des Moines Register and Wall Street Journal. Sometimes I can grab the Argus as well. Old fashion as it may be, I believe a newspaper can be the soul of a community.

That said, a buddy of mine told me yesterday he was dropping the QC Times. Lack of content, over sized ads and the ability to check obituaries and such on-line makes the paper side worthless to him. So I took a quick survey of 15 folks and found 10 of them don’t subscribe to the QC Times.

Grabbing my paper this morning, I find our newspapers mid front page is all about Carey Grant dying 20 years ago. That and a pointless editorial about Isle of Capri (sorry Mark Ridolfi). In fact, my daily review of the QC Times is becoming shorter and shorter. Among my 15 survey folks, lack of meaningful content was the primary reason for not buying the local paper.

Although I found Dustin Lemmon’s article of the Nixon murder case interesting, little else caught my eye. It’s said (and I find true), “Read the Des Moines Register today, so you know what’s in the QC Times tomorrow”. More and more, I am finding this to be true.

It’s got to be tough to be a local newspaper. They got to be “on” 24 hours a day. Industry wide, stock values for these companies are at all time lows. Subscription rates are dropping and alternative media and advertising venues put greater pressure on these local papers.

So my question (or babble) today is simple. Is the largest newspaper in eastern Iowa and western Illinois relevant? I say yes, but alarmingly less and less every day!

Have a great day….. George

Update - FYI
QC Times Front Page Story: here
DesMoines Register: here


At November 29, 2006 8:36 AM, Blogger Socialist Christian Hippie said...

In a 24/7 news environment, who has time for newspapers. UNLESS they are going to write in-depth stories and/or have clever columnists that the reader relates to, or great, insightful sports reporting.

Of course, with the internet, I read Chicago Tribune Sports, New York Times for in-depth reporting, Chicago Tribune for regional news as well as, sometimes, local news.

Unfortunately, the reporters that are at the Times are much better known for fluff than they are for hard hitting insight.

What stories has Bill Wundrum uncovered recently? Don't get me wrong, the papers accross the way are just the same.

They've even gone to reporting on their own advertising section (The Trinity or Genesis insert highlights show up the next day in the "news" section)

Of course, the QCtimes has a long history. It was much better when it had a point of view and agitated for it. Now it is bland and neutral. Unless one calls "boosterism" a point of view.

Maybe if they went back to their roots. The River Cities Reader is harder hitting than any paper in the area.

At November 29, 2006 9:13 AM, Anonymous Shelley said...

It seems the Times editorial page just can't win. The editorial about the west downtown businesses generated the wrath of Huber and his board toward the publisher and writer of the piece (amazingly-not one contact by D1 to the business members quoted). Boosterism or honest criticism-Ridolfi just can't seem to win. Maybe that's as it should be and it does generate some strong reactions-someone is reading them! Genuine curiosity about the community and those who inhabit it and an effort to reach out to their readers helps. Word limits and space constraints prohibit more thoughtful and researched pieces. Turn Ed Tibbets loose, let Cory Brecht get to the details of some of the Davenport City Hall workings. Who is the neighborhood reporter? I miss Barb Arland-Fye a lot.

At November 29, 2006 9:31 AM, Blogger The Colonel said...

I would like to here more about the Huber wrath thing. I didn't see anything in the paper about this.
In regards to Mark Ridolfi, I believe he is a good guy that has a keen understanding of the Quad Cities. The only fault I place with him is his place of occupancy (which is Rock Island and not Davenport).
I think past publishers have tied his hands for the sake of advertising revenue.
I also agree Cory Brecht is a young talent that has great up side possibilities.

At November 29, 2006 10:20 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Conservative Demo here:
While I don't subscribe, I won't hesitate to buy one at a reduced price off the counter at McD when I stop in for a morning coffee (and that's less than five times a year) so of course I don't know the names mentioned in the above posts. I've never thought about why I don't subscribe but now to put it into words I suppose it's because the paper isn't relevant to me.

I am a reader of commentary both left and right and haven't found that satisfied by the Times. I want to regularly read George Will, Mark Shields, Bill Buckley, Garrison Keillor and other national-known names easily found on-line. I also read Doonesbury on-line and it was the Times cutting of that one some years ago that caused me to stop subscribing.

As for the DSM Register, I had a daily subscription to that one maybe over twenty years ago but the local delivery people weren't reliable (at least at that time and where I lived then) so haven't subscribed since.

Perhaps the answer from here then is that the Times isn't relevant.

At November 29, 2006 10:28 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Conserv. Demo..

Nothing has changed in terms of delivery of the DSM Register. In fact,there days when their yellow machines are not filled.

They decided some time ago they would stop being the "State" newspaper. Regardless, there content is superior. I also believe they get first rights on AP stories. Which is why the QC Times runs the day after....

At November 29, 2006 1:03 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am new to the Quad Cities, and I must admit I always thought the QC Times was all fluff.

At November 29, 2006 3:37 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Another bad thing about the QCTimes changes is the quality of the paper itself. The paper is now thin as kleenex, and it seems like it's so thin that the paper curls and is hard to read. It also irritates me when they use those half-wide sheets, and paste a sticker/ad in the middle of the front page, and you have to tear carefully to get to the front page story under the glued on sticker.

At November 29, 2006 7:32 PM, Anonymous Unhappy Newspaper Person said...

The paper is to liberal and not even middle of the road. I can remember when the paper had more honest, digging reporting. I believe that they are in the pocket of certain interests in Davenport.

If they listen to the people they might have more subscriptions sold and increase the bottom line. I think that the cutten leadership at Lee has caused the value of the stock to drop. Look in the Business Section at the price drop of the stock. People have lost thousands of dollars because of the Lady that got a huge bonus for WHAT? The purchase of the St. Louis Post and other papers was not the smartest move that could be made. That is unless she is looking for a takeover by some other big publishing company.

Let us get one of the family back in control of the paper. They built the paper up and did not tear it down.

At November 30, 2006 8:31 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Now that Saul isn't covering the city of Davenport anymore - you you say BORING>

At November 30, 2006 2:18 PM, Anonymous Tory B said...

Thank you for the compliment, but a brief correction: it's Tory with a "T".

And to anonymous at 8:31: I will try to liven up my reporting. Keep in mind that Tom Saul had the beat for 8 years and I'm now in month 3, so I do have a bit of a learning curve to catch up to.

Shoot me an e-mail if you have any exciting stories to share.

At November 30, 2006 6:57 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nothing against you Tory, you have done a fine job. I just loved Tom's thirst for dirt.

What has impressed me about you Tory is your research abilities. You seem to be areal investigative reporter. Nice job.

At December 01, 2006 3:50 AM, Blogger QuadCityImages said...

I'm impressed that Tory actually admits to reading the sites and even posts here. Definitely not something we ever saw Tom do, even though I suspect he read the blogs too.

At December 01, 2006 9:29 AM, Anonymous Tory b said...

I'm not a news snob.

I figure old time reporters got a lot of tidbits by hanging out in bars and coffee shops.

In this modern age, the blogospehere is basically the same.

I just wish there was more booze.

; )

At December 01, 2006 10:54 AM, Anonymous Shelley said...

Tory (sorry about the "Cory"-I knew that)-you know that in the old days, the usuals at Mac's used to refer to Ed "Tidbits" and they loved to talk to him.

At December 02, 2006 12:25 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think tory far outclasses Tom Saul. tom didn't care so much about the facts or the accuracy of his reporting, he was only interested in finding (or making up) scandals. I think Tory's reporting so far is sound. Maybe it is not as exciting as Saul's, since the truth is often more boring than the made up or exaggerated "facts".

At December 02, 2006 8:32 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Speaking of Ed "Tidbits", a funny story. About ten years ago, or so, some employees at the courthouse were discussing a murder that happened on Days Of Our Lives. Ed, having only overheard part of the conversation thought that there was a murder in Davenport. He thought he had the scoop of a lifetime!

At December 03, 2006 2:25 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Does anyone really know what happened to Tom Saul? I heard that he was forced out of his beat by complaining city hall people after the Malin thing.

Anyone know??

At December 03, 2006 2:44 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tory, Relax it's not you or the paper it's the area. This area is news starved...that's why you guys send out journalism students to seek out "unfriendies" so you can report a non-story. Lets face it, if this paper wants to remain relevant then Lee Ent. needs to spend some money on national and world stories. You know they have to pay for AP and Ruters ect...And really, stories that are news not just gruesom tales of cooking things in a microwave but of interest. It's O.K. that the news didn't originate in the Quad City area. We'll still read it, maybe.

Until then I'll be reading the Reader because of the excellent Ed's and the entertainment/art coverage.

I travel


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