It all comes down to Sunday.
That’s where the war for our hearts and minds is fought. That’s where newspapers make or break their year.
So what did we learn from the first weekend editions of the Honolulu Star-Advertiser? I’m going to focus on what those papers told us about the journalism we can expect from the newspaper.
First, the paper seems oriented toward “conceptual” front pages, using photo illustrations to create impact rather than to using news articles and photography to reflect real life in this place.
Those concept stories are hit and miss, at best. “WAC Cracked” was the front page headline Saturday. OK, sports fans know what the WAC is. But The Wall Street Journal has a good rule: If you’re going to use a term, explain it. If you can tell me which teams are in the WAC from the front page article, please let me know. I couldn’t.
Enough already with repeating that the staff is “award-winning.” The publisher of the Star-Advertiser promised in his full-page ad/column Sunday that he’s “committed to continuing the award-winning journalism that has been the hallmark of both papers.” I’ve been the editor and publisher of a major metropolitan paper, and I hate to say it but almost any journalist who can breathe can call himself or herself award winning. Journalism has too many awards. Who cares, unless you’re talking extraordinary, nationally-recognized effort? Show me how good your are by what you did for me today. That’s a humbling aspect of daily journalism.
You’d think that editors would have had time to prepare a real humdinger of an article for the first Sunday front page. The merger of the two papers wasn’t a surprise to them. What we got instead was a screaming headline: “Fresh Costs” over a …