Without announcing it, the “new” version of the Dayton Daily News now only provides bite sized stories on the front page- no more stories that link across pages. It’s a small change, but another indication that they are going more USA Today than NY Times.
I keep waiting to see them take a run at the Dayton City Paper by releasing “Go” – their Friday entertainment supplement as a free weekly. If you have been watching closely- they have started putting in news re-caps under the heading “Things to be talking about.”
Probably the most entertaining thing in the paper was the sidebar by business editor Jim Dillon talking about more local coverage. As far as I can tell, the business section produces the least local content per person of the entire paper. Even when handed a story on a plate- the Dayton Ad Club awards release as an example, they fail to get it into the paper.
It has been my observation that the tone of the local paper has much to do with the economic vitality of a city. When a community has a forward thinking, optimistic paper, it seems to create an environment for positive growth. Unfortunately the local editors (TV and Print) subscribe to the “If it bleeds, it leads” mentality, sensationalizing the negatives and rarely looking deep enough into the issue.
There are solutions to problems in this community- however you are unlikely to read about them in the DDN. Ideas are never given credence in this community unless you have a large group behind you. Individuality and independent thought aren’t valued- hence a loud mouthed minister with a flock will get more face time than an independent candidate with original ideas. As former city staffer Paul Woodie told me long ago “you need a herd to be heard.”
The recent turn of event’s for Ricky Boyd’s firing are a good example of this phenomena. My first impressions of Mr. Boyd were severely tainted when I caught him an outright lie about his military service in Vietnam in my first campaign for office. I have not had any respect for him since (nor did I ever hear him claim to have served in Special Forces ever again).
How one man’s loss of his patronage job becomes front page news, while thousands of Delphi employees are at risk showcases the DDN’s lack of understanding of what is important- and what isn’t. The newspaper should serve as a loudspeaker for new ideas, not as the censor of record.
Unfortunately, the paper still seems to think it knows best what is good for its readers by moving to even more pre-digested news instead of reaching to make people think. This latest round of changes is just one more move to the mediocre from an organization that exemplifies the word mundane.
As a last note- look more to blogs to get intelligent perspective on what can and will make a difference in our community.
And- hope that the DDN returns Leigh Alan to the front of the Metro section- he was one of the few independent thinkers that they used to share with us.