Monday, January 22, 2007

Move over, Pulitzer

In the "what were they smoking" category, the Suburban Newspapers of America has deemed the The Saratogian worthy of no less than nine awards during their editorial contest for 2006, trumping both the Troy Record's five awards and the Glens Falls Post Star's eight. Yes, the same paper that brings the Spa City yesterday's news in the form of error-ridden stories that often not only miss the mark, but the target altogether, can once again affirm their title as "an award-winning" publication.

The Saratogian was found worthy of no less than nine awards among the 37 discriminating categories listed by the SNA, a gaggle of "suburban and community newspapers" spanning roughly 2,000 publications across the continent. Their Mantra? Supporting the advancement of high standards in the newspaper industry.

So high are these impeccable standards at the humble Saratogian, that their managing editor now makes a semi-annual practice of turning her column --a generally disjointed string of thoughts about housework appearing on the front page of the living section --to her 19-year-old college aged son.

But hey, at least he doesn't write balls. Fuzzy pink ones.

Needless to say, this column fodder scored high among the SNA judges, along with Barbara Lombardo's prattling editorials that basically weigh a bit heavy on the same rhetoric routinely spouted on such fair and balanced media bastions as the Fox News Network. Take for example her editorial published last year, ironically around the same time as Bill O'Reilly's heralded "War on Christmas" campaign. Real edgy stuff that wasn't bashed about the media ad nauseum.

And lately, it doesn't appear as though the Lombardo Factor has been producing editorials period. Or at least not ones that ever make it online. This should come as no surprise for electronic readers, as it appears the paper hasn't been posting anything online. Thus continues a spiral descent of what was one of the more cutting-edge local news sites just a scant four years ago.

(update: after nearly five straight days of darkness, the Saratogian online edition was back in force, posting all of yesterday's news reporting on last week's events. The news remained online for almost a solid day before the Web site went blank again Thursday morning. Keep up the good work, JRC!)

From ditching their online pictures in 2004, to the trimming down of posted stories last year to the abolishment of daily news posts altogether. Now, the only local online content is asinine "reader poll" questions like "do you think the Saratoga Springs downtown bar scene is too wild," which are probably posted only because the paper made a habit of printing the results.

So while The Saratogian closes the chapter on 2005 with a new pocket full of tawdry plaques, they can start firing out the submissions for 2006, which was another banner year for the paper. Circulation went up a whopping 1.1 percent last year, meaning about 100 more people were duped into buying this award winner each day. They'll need those people to keep reading if their going to balance out the more than 1,000 readers who wisely stopped buying the $1.75-per-issue Sunday paper last year.

Truth is, no award is going to right the direction of this paper until there's a solid gutting of management and a renewed commitment to good local journalism, even if it's centered around the city alone. But with such faux praise espoused by a generally bogus association like the SNA, the morons at the Journal Register Company will continue to believe there's nothing wrong with this equation.

2 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lay off Christmas, you commie barfly defender of the establishment.

2:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I once had tremendous respect for Barbara Lombardo. That is, until her son became the Casey McNulty of Saratoga Springs.

We all know that if David's last name were Smith, he'd spend his time at home either (a) drinking to excess, (b) driving at high rates of speed over badly plowed roads in eastern Saratoga County, or (c) drinking to even greater excess. He'd never get newspaper - much less column - space, save for his DWI arrest.

Of course, Ms. Lombardo's Mr. Lombardo is a lawyer. So I'd advise you to be careful. Hell hath no fury like a litigator's wife scorned.

7:37 AM  

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