Tuesday, November 29, 2005

what to do

Suppose you have a blog, and plenty of material at hand in the form of a local newspaper with Issues. Suppose the paper exhibits variation over time, and during the ups you think "well, maybe it's a new dawn and things are getting better" and during the downs you think "Nevada County needs to get a restraining order against this paper" and finally, after mishap after mishap after mishap, you come to accept that the paper is just uncouth by nature* and can't help itself.

But then they reprint this LA Times piece reporting John and Julia Doolittle's entanglement in the Abramoff corruption scandal, on the front page no less; and the publisher comes out with this column observing that maybe the Iraq war isn't worth the deaths of any more of our county's young men, and they print one of the best-written letters ever, on a proposed solution for maintaining the surfaces of Nevada City's so-called paved roads...

So what do you do? Do you hand out public accolades, hoping - yet again - that they're turning over a new leaf and things will be better now? Or do you gently close the door on the flowers-and-remorse and move on to new subject matter?*


Beats me.

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Here's an excerpt from the pavement letter:
[Adams St. in Nevada City]Nevada City streets have deteriorated to the point of being non-streets...Probably the most cost-effective fix is to rip up what’s left of the asphalt and contact the Department of Public Works in Lovelock, Nev....experts at building and maintaining gravel roads...wonderful gravel roads, the kind that would add historic ambiance and make driving Boulder or Nevada streets feel like riding on a cushion of air...
The anonymice in comments are not sympathetic; leads you to suspect that they don't travel Boulder or Adams St often. And something tells me they've never tried weaving a 10-speed bike around the craters either; I have, and it's almost enough to drive you to driving.

2 comments:

Russ Steele said...

Anna:

You watch the Union. Do you think that all the staff changes are the result of a leadship issue. Turn over seems a little high, for a troop of happey workers.

Russ

Anna said...

Oh for a mole...
:-)

An objective, compulsively honest mole.

But Russ, you raise an interesting issue - when staff leaves an institution in droves, how should outsiders determine if this is good or bad? There should be objective criteria, but I don't know what they are.

In some institutions there are fairly objective metrics for 'quality' (which isn't to say that everyone who scores highly on them is a keeper, just that on average they're better indicators than nothing) - but for a newspaper?

If you know people personally, and can categorize them based on it, and ones of one ilk are departing while the other ilk is staying, I guess that'd give you some indications. Or if you knew that there'd been a change in management philosophy, and what that change was, and could judge whether or not it was for the best.

In short: I don't know, but I'd infer dissatisfaction.


Margaret Wade, please come back
we remember you
we miss you
(that's a plural "we")