Dan, I don’t know who lost their jobs in last week’s sad layoffs. I hope you’re not one. You have been one of the good writers there for years — one of the few reasons to read it. But as a former reader, I have to agree with Ben L. I subscribed for years and wrote numerous letters asking for a return to balanced news coverage “just the facts!” When the paper took its first turn toward covering “women’s issues,” I knew the writing was on the wall. I’m a woman, and while Kirsta Ramsey’s whiney “why aren’t you as caring as I am, what the heck is wrong with you people??” tone was fine for color pieces, who wants to read a whole newspaper where that is the editorial stance toward its readers? But it went downhill from there. Then it got a focus on young professionals — assuming that readers knew nothing about anything, which was an insult to young professionals — and finally beoming a mouthpiece for social justice issues of the most stereotypically liberal kind. Each of those big changes was accompanied by layoffs, so each time much of the remaining good reporting got jettisoned.
The Enquirer became, not a newspaper, but an advocacy journal — moreover, a local advocacy journal that was merely a section of vapid USA Today. It is a sad, sad outcome for a once-great paper but one engineered by the leadership, not the reporters. I have no doubt they were doing their jobs. Ben’s column plausibly explained what those jobs were: To tell this backwards city to get in line with All the Right People. As a reader, that’s what I got out of it and why I eventually cancelled my subscription. I would subscribe again in a heartbeat if it returned to real coverage of local stories and a balanced view of issues (not a conservative one, but one that covered all sides fairly) and stopped advocating every progressive fad that comes down the pike. But sadly, I don’t ever see that happening. All I see is doubling down on the same failed strategy. In the end I assume it will please only Bernie Sanders supporters, or more likely supporters of whoever follows him, even more to the left. But what Gannett doesn’t seem to realize is there arent’ very many of them, and they want everything to be free.