Years ago, when we were traveling from New England to Florida on a family vacation, I finally gave in to two impulses that had been tamped down by my mom years before. She had been the “keeper of the budget” and if there were no funds budgeted already for some impromptu experience noticed while on the road but not planned for, there was no impromptu experience if it had a cost.
I learned quickly that those things that are marketed (See Rock City! Wall Drug Store! South of the Border!) were bypassed for experiences that yes, over time, have proven to be more significant. For example, on a visit to yet one more boring State Capitol building, we met former Governor Orval Faubus, the significant bigot of the day in the school desegregation episode in Little Rock.
So, it was with delight, as an adult, that I stopped at South of the Border, a tourist trap that teased me on multiple trips to Florida as a child. And I learned, that yes, it just was full of cheap junk, and other than being a useful potty break, there was no other value to the place.
But it is Smith’s that came to mind today when the publisher of a new “newspaper” in our county responded to my comment that his writing did not even meet the standards set by my high school journalism class. He proudly said, “Made you look.”
On that drive to Florida, I was traveling with my husband, now deceased, whose family name was Smith. So, sure, giving into newly excited impulses, we stopped at a place that was marketed through maybe 200 miles of highway billboards, “Smith’s”. When I mentioned our name to the guy who took our money for the gas purchase, his response was “If every family whose name is Smith stopped once, I would be a millionaire.”
So, Mr. New Newspaper Publisher, take note: Mr. Smith had his store on I-95, a major north-south highway with lots and lots and lots of traffic. He paid for billboards that attracted the patronymic affiliation to drop in. You, in contrast, are located in a county with a considerably smaller potential for consumer absorption. But your attitude is about the same. You really are not trying to aim for quality merchandise to attract and maintain some level of public appreciation.
Mr. Smith recognized that he would probably never see us again, but that was okay. He didn’t expect anything more than what had happened: a short interaction.
Contrast your situation, living among us. Not only will you NEVER attract the huge volume of business Mr. Smith enjoyed, but you will also learn that many of us will not waste any more time with your tourist trap fodder.
My personal beef is not your content, although there is plenty of room for critique there. My first impression remains the one I will share: You are not writing newspaper journalism. Basic rules of ethical journalism are broken just about each and every sentence.
You will have a limited readership. There will be some who admire your ability to make noise. The rest of us are just more discerning and ask for clarity and more precision, especially when we do make an effort to read content from the side of the situation we do not support. Many of us DO read across the spectrum, but this week has been long enough to not bother with yours any longer.
By the way, THIS is not a news article. THIS is an opinion statement. So are your efforts.