Sunday, February 1, 2009

I'm So Angry, and There Are No Words

Dear Mr. Bushee,

I loved your sarcastic, comedic article on the front page of this Sunday's paper (Chronicle begins new era ). I was surprised at first that a venerable editor of an important newspaper in a major city would do a comedy editorial (a la Dave Berry), but as I read it I realized how much I'd missed such a thing in the newspaper. Funny and poignant social commentary that communicates and yet entertains is something I think would sell newspapers. I question your putting it on the front page, but then again I'm not a newspaper man so I guess you would know better then I how to sell papers.

I loved how you sarcastically used as many words for "better" as possible in the first part of the article on the first page, and then on page 15 pretended not to care about cut backs, smaller articles, less actual reporting and more and bigger meaningless ads. It was hilarious! I loved how you talked about the new Food and Wine and Home and Garden sections and noted it was to help people who were really busy now and might want to put the paper aside to read later. HA! It's so true. Nothing in the Sunday paper should be important right now...like editorials on the worst week for lay offs in over three decades. That sounds boring! Bring on articles about soup! Oh, and full page ads, I've missed you so. Thank goodness you are bringing those back. And in blurry blurry color. Hurray!

Speaking of which. I'm glad there was only one frowny section in the Sunday paper. These are hard times, I take Sunday's off from caring about things. Thank goodness this news paper understands I need pages full of full color smiles. The front page had it's "green revolutionaries" so happy that they are winning. The green section with happy happy Raiders (with that guy who is in jail) smiling happily. Food and wine had Marlena Spriler looking happy. Home and Garden had happy sports guys too, Pink section had Obama, Business had Karen Pender smiling, and even the "in site" section had a funny picture. HA! Only the all black and white Bay area section had sad faces. But because it was B/W I could ignore their frowny faces.

Maybe your article wasn't sarcastic after all. These things all do seem like improvements. But wait...where is the book section? Why aren't books mentioned at all? Where did they go?To In Insight? Really? The cover story of the pink section is only...less then a page? Sure it has dazzling pretty pictures...but...the words don't say anything. And in a month the SF Gate has only reviewed only 9 plays dispite the fact there are over 45 theatrical events in SF any given week...and there is no full review in the pink section?

I'm sorry. Do you claim the paper is easier to read because there is less to read? Do you say that you have the top artists and graphics people working with you because you had room in your budget after letting go of the reporters? Are you trying to sell me with Sunday smiles dispite the darkening of the economy? Or the fact that our, and I do mean SF's, universities are floundering? The Sunday paper is always a piece of fluff...but are you going to fake your way through the fluff too? What exactly is better about the paper?

I think I like the way Sue Adolphson put it in her article, "It's hard to believe, but as of today the Pink section is actually better than is was before." Yes, it is hard to believe...because it is worse. It's empty, flat, as hard to navigate as it ever was, and pandering.

I didn't buy the paper before because it didn't know how to be relevant...and I guess it still doesn't know how. I would have liked to have read, in big bold over sized lettering "San Francisco Chronicle Fails" because it would have been the truth. And I would have bought it. And it would have been a starting place.

-Claire Rice

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