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Bingoloid

The Absolute State of the Press & Sun-Bulletin

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Got a steep discount on the New York Times so I decided to take the Sunday edition to mix it up a little.

Either the carrier can't tell the difference or this is the Folgers Crystals test to see if I can, but I found a Sunday Press on my step instead. I haven't seen one in ten years so I sat down with my coffee and gave it a chance.

That lasted about seven seconds. On the right, actual local newspaper, puffed up with advertisements. On the left, more advertisements, puffed up with a few pages of USA Today syndicated content and the obits.

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This is like a comedy bit. They even hide an empty column with an inch of margin on both sides of the lead story, like a lazy teenager trying to make his book report look longer. 

Good God. I don't know what I expected, but these people are just taking the piss at this point.

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We still get home delivery of the press and sun, mostly for obituaries. Twenty years ago, it was a heck of a paper.  Ten years ago, it was decent.  Today, it is best used to wrap valuables or potty train a pet.  There were a couple days, about two weeks ago, there wasn't a single local story in the entire newspaper.  For me, that was the final straw.  There's no coverage of local events anymore.  And news stories run two or three days after the news actually breaks.

We will be canceling our subscription as soon as our current discounted promotion runs out this summer.  

 

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Throw a copy of the Binghamton Press in the air, and you can read it before it hits the ground.

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Boy, where to begin?

  • More Rochester-related articles ever since they moved the printing of the paper from Johnson City (now another abandoned building?) to Rochester.  How can a "local" paper have to be shipped 160 miles and 2.5 hours to its market?
     
  • What they consider "news" is a full-width panorama color scenic picture with a vague caption (usually running on page 3A). Like a close-up of a bird on a fence post with the caption "Whitney Point".
     
  • They'll edit a column or article for space, but leave out important information. I'll often see someone referred to by only their last name near the end of the piece, but nowhere before that is the person's full name given, what they do or how they relate to the story.
     
  • The exact same article and picture appearing in separate sections on the same day. Sometimes the duplicate is the next day or the day after that.
     
  • Section B consisting of only a single sheet of paper folded to make four pages. And Page 4 is often a full-page ad for something like a mattress company.
     
  • Section B inserted last in the paper, after sometimes three segments all called "A", then "C" and then "D".  Ever hear of the alphabet?  Oh, that's right - Section B is a USA Today insert, which probably gets handled last.
     
  • Many of the ads are for products and services owned by Gannett itself.
     
  • Filler PSAs supposedly supporting the First Amendment:  "Free to be . . . "
     
  • They can't even get the comics right.  How many times did they run the same panels the next day?

 

What often bothers me are the one really local-related segments that are always screwed up - the photos and columns from historian Gerald Smith. He really needs a ghostwriter. They read like something written by someone in middle school.  His facts are often wrong too, like referring to the national television network in the early '50s as the "DuPont network".

Dates for the photos are often wrong, easily identified by cars manufactured one or two decades after the listed date. Other things in the background leave clues as well. A photo of the Capri Theater (now the Forum) has been used several times with the caption "about 1960."  The problem is the movie on the marque:  Woody Allen in Play It Again, Sam, which was released in 1972.

Last fall they had photos of fires in Binghamton where they named the actual structures involved, with captions that said the photos were taken "about" or "around" a certain date.  How can an actual historical documented event be said that it occurred "about" or "around"?  That's like saying the Zapruder film was shot "about 1960".

Historian?  Seriously?

 

Edited by YankeeDoodle
Fixed minor typos.

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Another pet peeve of mine are those "A Life Lived" (I think they're called) articles.  In them the writer interviews children, grandchildren and other relatives to learn more about the deceased.

But near the beginning of the article the date of death is usually listed, with the clarification "according to their obituary."

Seriously?  You have to list the source?  You're interviewing family members and you can't use them to confirm the date?

It's like they're worried about some fact checker coming along.  Sources for information are not identified in any other articles, so why the necessity to clarify it here?  Just list the date and be done with it.

Besides, these articles usually run a month or two after the death. If you were that concerned about the date, admit it - you weren't that close to them and you missed the viewing and the service anyway.

Edited by YankeeDoodle

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13 hours ago, Clyde said:

We still get home delivery of the press and sun, mostly for obituaries.

I don't know if many people know this, but obituaries are considered part of the advertising department and not the editorial department.

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There was a time I wouldn't dream of starting my day without reading the Press while having my coffee. Even working third shift, come home make coffee read the Press. These days I'm lucky if I get to read the Sunday paper cover to cover. I'm missing plenty of rituals that were once considered mandatory for a civilized existence. Work. I know I'm not the only one. Work/life balance? :) lol

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When I finally called to cancel. about 10 years ago, I said, "I have today's P&SB in one hand, and our bulletin from church yesterday in the other.  There's more news in the bulletin."

The operator said, literally, "How can I argue that?"

 

I do read the obits online, but that's about it.

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I have noticed how biased and one sided the local press & Sun can be. Recently on May 31st there was a story ran about a local company “BT” and how they filed a suit in April against a former employee for Embezzlement and thereafter the former employee countered the suit. After digging into the clerks website a bit I see the former employee filed his suit first against “BT” for defamation/slander in January and from the complaint the former employee filed it is jaw dropping with the depths this company allegedly went 

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I like the sensational reporting that makes me feel like a lot is going on around me when there is little but the daily routine in Binghamton.  Pay special attention to the police beat, reports on crimes, fires, and related incidents... we are not the big city... no matter how hard these reporters want us to be.  Very discouraging.

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That rag has been on life support for years.  Surprised it’s even still published at all given how low it has sunk.  They used to give it away just to inflate circulation numbers, and advertising rates.  They once paid me to allow them to deliver the paper to my house.  Not a very good business model if you ask me...  Can’t imagine why they’re struggling   

The once local broadcast media is just one step behind the paper in terms of deterioration in quality.  

Just remember, you the reader/viewer are not the customer.  You are the product they sell to the their end users, the advertisers, who write them checks to have their message put in front of you.  

Always follow the money if you want to understand how things really work. 

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20 hours ago, Responsible_Adult_Female said:

It would be really nice if we could get a local newspaper going again around here.  I think it would be welcomed with proper management and pricing.

Eh, I doubt it - not if you're talking a print newspaper. It's a dead medium.

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Its bad enough our "local" stations can't air local news. Maybe BCV should should inquire about a news letter. WBNG has a thing with Bradford County. Is there something in the water down there?

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