Blogs > Jim Collins' Editor's Notebook

Jim Collins is editor emeritus of The News-Herald and also serves as executive in residence at Lakeland Community College. His popular weekly column appears each Sunday in Comment in The News-Herald.

Friday, January 25, 2013

You don't have to look far for your local news

It’s a line I’ve repeated so often that everyone I know has heard it a dozen times.

Phone sales person: “Do you get The Plain Dealer?”

Me: “I read it, but I don’t get it.”

I know, it’s funny, but in the interest of full disclosure, the original gag belonged to Steve Allen, the funniest guy who ever lived.

I first heard it when I took a group of 25 News-Herald carriers who had won a contest to New York City. One of their treats was to go to a live broadcast of the Steve Allen Show. It must have been around 1956.

The kids were all wearing News-Herald T-shirts. During the pre-show warm-up, Steve looked the kids over and asked: “What is The News-Herald?”

“It’s a newspaper in Ohio,” one of the kids shouted out. The kid then asked, “Steve, when you were a kid, did you deliver The News-Herald?”

“No,” the comic replied. “There was a Depression when I was a kid. I used to steal The News-Herald.”

Then one of the kids asked: “Do they get your show in Peoria?”

“They watch it,” he replied, “but they don’t get it.”

Thanks for a great line, Steve.

But I don’t mean to disparage The Plain Dealer. I read it, and The News-Herald, of course, every day. I love newspapers. If I had time I would also read The Wall Street Journal.

I will never be able to read a paper on the computer. I am far too impatient. When I want to see something, I want to see it now, not when the computer gets around to showing it.

But for local content, there is no comparing the two papers that I read. I basically read the PD for three columnists – Bill Livingston, Paul Hoynes and Ted Diadiun. Otherwise, the Cleveland paper has virtually no news about Lake County. The N-H is jam-packed with news of the area I was born in and choose to live in.

The other highlight of the PD is the continuing soap opera of the crooks who have been running Cuyahoga County, many of whom are now in jail.

There is a quadrillion times more interesting news about this area in The News-Herald, and I am saying it only because it is true: If you are interested in what is happening in Lake or Geauga county, you will get it only in The News-Herald.

I don’t have enough fingers and toes to enumerate all the regular N-H writers who brighten my day.

Whether in sports, entertainment, the features pages or the hard news columns, they are an absolute must for me — every day.

It saddens me to hear that the PD will — probably before very long — publish only three days a week. How simply awful! But the paper is headed in that direction, and there seems to be nothing anyone can to reverse it.

Now, some newspapers do stupid things. Take the Journal News in White Plains, N.Y. As Henny Youngman would say, please.

That is the paper run by a couple of left-wing women (let me interrupt myself. This is not a sexist statement, nor is it political. It just happens to be true.) who chose to publish the addresses of everyone in their circulation area who owned carry concealed weapons permits.

Did I say stupid? That decision was far beyond stupid. It was breathtakingly ignorant. Dumb, dumb, dumb. (The computer says I repeated myself. I know that.)

It was a mindless act of mental depravity.

Don’t give me the argument that they had the right to print the addresses. Of course they did. I have read the First Amendment more times that they have. The information is public, and they can print it if they please.

Do they print everything they have a right to print simply because it is public information? Do they print every divorce action that is filed? Do they list everyone in their area who receives food stamps?

Of course not. They printed the CCW addresses because they have a political agenda. Period.

There is much that is wrong with what is called today the Mainstream Media. (The term often refers to The New York Times and The Washington Post.)

They print the “news” very selectively – to abet their political agendas. They choose what to print and what not to print in many instances based on their political outlooks.

I will underscore my point by mentioning only two words – Watergate (a two-bit break-in) and Benghazi (four murders).

If you don’t get that message, stay away from trigonometry. You’ll never get that, either.


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