Thursday, April 14, 2005

All On the Same Huge Day: 'Juice' on the Web, 'Cityview' on the Rack

This is a whopper of a day in the news business.

Not just big.

It's H-U-G-E.

I mean, how many times in a guy’s lifetime does he see “Juice” launched on the local paper’s website and an all-new "Cityview" made available to him free of charge on a rack at his Hy-Vee store, very close to the restrooms, on the same day?

I’m more than excited.

I'm absolutely ecstatic.

Let me get to “Juice” first.

"Juice" was spelled "juice" [small "j"] on the website, but my teachers at Lincoln Elementary School in Cedar Rapids always told me to use a big "J" when writing about something as important as "Juice."

I don’t think Mark McGwire was in town to break a bottle of steroids over Mary Stier’s computer to get the celebration started, but I’ve been told that “Juice” is going to be a big deal in our town.

Even though it’s just a website now, it’s going to be a weekly newspaper later this year.

The words "alternative paper" are tossed around these days, so maybe "Juice" will even be one of those once it gets into type.

Hell, maybe my favorite Chinese restaurant will even have it on the rack.

It’s aimed at the 25-to-34-year-old crowd, and it’s going to have everything that’ll keep ‘em happy.

The with-it folks who run "Juice" are going to tell those bored, restless 25-to-34's where they can get a date and a drink, and where they can go dancing and to an R-rated movie.

It’ll also – and this is important – let 'em know that there’s something called The Local Paper in central Iowa. Evidently, a lot of 25-to-34's have been getting their news from TV and the Internet, and didn't know there was a paper here.

I checked out “Juice” on my computer early this afternoon.

It just about knocked me over.

There it was -- “Juice” in big letters -- greeting me on the 17-inch screen. In smaller type, it said, “Squeezed fresh daily.”

Pretty snappy, huh?

I’ll bet they borrowed one of Jerry Perkins’ folks from the farm department to put that idea together.

Maybe ol' Perk himself wrote it.

They like the word “stuff” a lot at “Juice.” It said, “Stuff to do today” one place and it said,”Get stuff” in another place.

There are a number of things called “blogs,” too. I’m waiting for someone to tell me what a “blog” is.

Maybe Perkins knows. Jerry, if you do, e-mail me at

The lead story in “Juice” was headlined “The Val Air Snags Snoop.”

I can’t wait to read it.

And I plan to do just that when I finish mowing my backyard.

I called my friend, "Alive in Clive, Not His Real Name," to see what he thought of “Juice’s” maiden voyage.

“Alive’s” wife said he was taking his nap.

“He won’t be getting to the Internet until sometime tomorrow,” she said. “Call him then. I’m sure he’ll be excited.

"But let me know what 'Juice' is so I can tell him about it before you call. The only 'Juice' he's aware of so far comes with vodka in it when he has his Sunday brunch at Mondo's."

Then there’s the new “Cityview.” I kept hearing that it was going to be the new and improved “Cityview,” and if I hear that enough times I’ll believe it.

The new and improved “Cityview” might look like the old “Pointblank,” but looks can be deceiving.

Some of the same people who owned and worked for “Pointblank” own and work for “Cityview.”

But evidently not Tim Schmitt, who was the managing editor at "Pointblank."

I don’t see him listed anywhere in “Cityview.” The Internet has been full of rumors that Schmitt, who wrote the lead story in the last issue of “Pointblank,” was fired.

I guess they were right.

Tough break for Tim, a good guy who interviewed me a couple of years ago when he was doing a story for "Pointblank" on why the local paper's circulation kept nosediving.

Obviously, that was before some sort of focus group down at 8th and Locust met for a year or so to come with the catchy "Juice" name for the website and weekly paper that no doubt will bring back thousands of readers who left to go to the Internet and the Omaha World-Herald.

With or without Schmitt, I'm pretty excited about "Cityview" and, as Mark McGwire says, I'm jacked-up about "Juice."

I just can't wait until "Juice" becomes a newspaper--"alternative" or not--and fights for space on the rack at "House of Hunan," where I get my hot-and-sour soup, vegetable deluxe and hot tea every Wednesday with Raff, Buck and the gang.

Vol. 4, No. 333
April 14, 2005