By Rosalie Tirella
You know the spaghetti’s hit the fan at the Telegram & Gazette when T & G columnist Dianne Williamson writes a column begging T & G readers to … keep reading the T & G!
In a recent column, Williamson manages to be more creepy than funny when she 1. calls her readers stupid. She writes: “As most of you know – or maybe you don’t because you’re watching ‘American Idol’ rather than reading this newspaper …, ” and 2. not-so subtly threatens them as she grovels: “… we’re so desperate to hang on to our readers,” she writes, “that we may soon resort to blackmailing anyone who cancels his subscription.”
We suspect she’s only half-kidding.
Truth be told, things are pretty bleak over at Franklin Street. Last year T & G subscriptions/circulation fell by almost 12%. This year the Sunday Telegram’s circulation is down 6.2%, and 19 employees from the news division (yikes! can their news division get any punier?) and circulation department are expected to be let go. “… please, let us know when you stop buying the paper!” Williamson writes. Or rather begs.
Then she tells us how the T & G’s head editors have been holding interminable meetings on how to make things better. She writes: “ … it’s true that our top-level editors have been locked behind closed doors for months now, frantically devising ways to increase circulation … ”
My suggestion (to the New York Times Co., the T & G’s owner): fire the T & G “top-level editors.” Leah Lamson, Harry Whitin and the rest of the paper’s “top-level editors” have been “leading” the T & G (in circles, it seems) for years. How can these tired old Telegram and Gazette “lifers” bring fresh/new ideas to the table? How can these mega-connected individuals – Whitin is old Worcester County money (Whitinsville, anyone?) and Lamson’s family was palsy walsy with the former executive editor of the newspaper – inject any life into a newspaper that has been DOA – pick your front door, porch or mail box – for years?
They can’t and that’s why they must go.
The New York Times could bring in some hot shot editors. But that wouldn’t do much good; they would just take the jobs to earn good grades so they could get promoted to the Boston Globe, also owned by the New York Times. Remember T & G reporter Milton Valencia?
We at InCity Times could try to solve the T & G’s problems – but we won’t.Tough luck, T & G! How ironic: the Republican rag that has so loved the free market is being eaten alive by laissez faire – with a captial “C.”
A few years ago, I suggested in this column that the Telegram and Gazette ditch some of its ancient Sunday Telegram op-ed columnists (average age: about 90 years old). They didn’t. Recently, however, they did kill the Sunday op-ed section, Insight. But in a classic T & G move, they stuck the calcified columnists in other places in the newspaper on other days.
This, I assume, is how it will go when the newspaper’s “top-level editors” decide to make “new” changes at the T & G.
Who once said, “The more things change, the more they stay the same”?