May 7th, 2007

WTF

If I were going to be around for a while, I'd probably care more

Lileks gets demoted to local reporter by the idiots running the Strib. The sensible thing to do would have been to fire the entire editorial staff and just reprint op-eds from the New York Times and Daily Worker, assuming the latter rag is still around now that Moscow's not helping pay the bills. Instead, according to Brian Lambert (via Mitch Berg) they're cutting back all the things that make the Strib distinctive in favor of...more beat reporters and a publisher being sued for industrial espionage? This is just stupid. Given the institutional prejudices of the Strib, the chances of them actually improving their local coverage (i.e. giving Minneapolis the scrutiny it deserves and the local companies likewise) are pretty much zilch. One seriously doubts Nick Coleman or Doug Grow, much less CJ, are going to say anything to upset the applecart down at City Hall or the Government Center. Kersten, maybe, but she's the token conservative on staff and nobody there takes her seriously.

I don't think the Strib has ever really known what they had in Lileks. The man is a pop culture savant, radio host, essayist, and all-around Cool Dude. He could have become a one-man fount of new media for the Strib and made its website nationally famous, but under the current (and previous) owners, he was regarded as another weirdo specialized columnist like Al Sicherman. So much the worse for the Strib. Personally, I don't read their paper and seldom check their website, but I hit the Bleat every day. That won't change. I do wonder, though, how many local readers are going to note the passing of the Quirk and decide that enough's enough; no point in spending half a buck a day to get the same news you can find for nothing on Drudge or the Examiner.

Other reactions by Hugh Hewitt, Don Surber (whose Charleston WV Daily Mail went the other way), Powerline, and Captain Ed. Except for Hewitt and Surber, I didn't bother linking the other out-of-towners because they really didn't have anything unique to add, but there's a lot of folks talking about this.