Monday, August 15, 2005

E-Mailer Rips 'Stupid' Columnist, Sports Pages; Sunday Paper Soars to $2

My correspondents have found a couple of emotionally-charged topics regarding the local paper to write about in recent days.

The first e-mail:


"Less than a week after the nasty remarks about Internet sports sites that the gallactically stupid Nancy Clark wrote in her Register column, she is shown to be the dinosaur she is. Compare the Register's three or four stories on Iowa football since media day on Monday to the all-out coverage Jon Miller has provided on Hawkeye Nation. Hawk fans are treated to photo galleries of players, numerous audio interviews, and several times as many print stories than have appeared in the Register. The recently announced acquisition of Hawkeye Nation's parent company,, by FOX ensures resources will not be a problem.

"The choice is simple for Iowa football fans. Internet sites represent the future of sports coverage while Nancy Clark lives in the past. Perhaps the Register will now send a reporter to cover the Des Moines Roosevelt-Ottumwa football game. That is now their market....and it's in the Golden Circle.

"Barry Crist
"West Des Moines"

[RON MALY'S COMMENTS: Crist is correct. There's no way the local paper or any other newspaper can keep up with the massive and thorough sports coverage of Internet sites these days. Newspapers are trying to survive in the 21st century with a 20th-century product. Newspapers are attempting desperately to compete with the Web by saying they're beefing up their Internet sites, but it's a case of too little, too late. Hawkeye Nation and Cyclone Nation are among the very best in the business. I'm told that Hawkeye Nation cranked out more than 70 items and published more than 200 photos last week. A man close to the scene tells me, "Were I at a paper last week, and saw what [Hawkeye Nation] did, I would feel a bit uncomfortable."]


The other e-mail:

"Without any notice or announcement, the Des Moines Register raised the newsstand price of the Sunday paper to $2. That's a 33 percent increase.

"It is still $1.50 in the vending machines, but that is likely to change soon because the cost now listed on the front page masthead is $2.

"I wonder how many other papers in the country charge $2.

"Bud Appleby
"Des Moines"

[RON MALY'S COMMENTS: Two bucks for the Sunday paper is a crime. In the old days, the bosses would at least put a note on the front page of the paper to inform readers of the price increase and the reason for it. I'd like to think the people who run the place are embarrassed by the price-gouging, but the word "embarrassment" isn't part of their vocabulary these days. It appears to me that the folks in charge tried to slip the price increase past everyone, hoping they could get their hands in your pockets before you noticed their dirty fingernails. I'd guess the newest price bump is meant to cover the latest drops in circulation or to pay for the transportation costs of job-seekers coming into town to interview for the mess Paul Anger left of the editor's position].