'If the newspaper's weak, so is the community' 

I have yet to find a single person who likes the G's new look or name. Young or old, conservative or liberal, Republican or Democrat, gay or straight, Jewish or Christian, creationist or evolutionist, one belief unites them all:

The G sucks.

And it sucks in a sort of pathetically unhip way, like a 65-year-old man trying to hit on the 20-somethings at the Ritz. It can only be seen as a further sign of desperation by out-of-touch folks who just don't get it. Prediction: This is New Coke.

As one who writes for the G's competition, I must confess that I take a certain perverse delight in the daily's continuing trials and tribulations.

Circulation down substantially, despite skyrocketing population in the Pikes Peak region? Ha! Botched redesign that any high-schooler with an iMac could improve upon? Ha! Trashing the sports section so that it's unreadable and incoherent? Ha! So desperate that they actually think bringing back Rosemary Harris will help? Double ha!

But then my spouse gave me a slightly different take on things.

"Anyone who cares about this community has to subscribe to the G," she pointed out. "Local news, obituaries, high-school sports, religion. Daily newspapers knit communities together; if the newspaper's weak, so is the community. It just shows that the city is less of a community, more fragmented, less connected."

Interesting point of view. And I have to agree with her, if only partially. The G has, to some degree, shot itself in the foot with management decisions that can best be described as bizarre.

Clearly, their bizarre attempt at a redesign is No. 1, but the continued weakening of the editorial product runs a close second. Capable reporters such as Rich Laden, Barry Noreen, Pam Zubeck and Ralph Routon are shuffled around the paper, or replaced by amiable know-nothings right out of journalism schools. But as entertaining as the G's managerial incompetence may be, it doesn't account for its continuing decline.

Certainly, the G, as a newspaper, does not strengthen the community. Indeed, for at least the last 25 years, the G has editorially treated large segments of the community with contempt. If you're gay, a Democrat, a liberal, a feminist, a public-school teacher, a union member, a government employee, an atheist, or an environmentalist, you'd better not open the editorial page.

It's tempting to speculate that the G's rigidly right-wing editorial policies have so offended large segments of the community that, given the opportunity, they're abandoning the paper in droves. But maybe the answer is a little more complicated, and a little sadder. We all know that ours is a transient community, but do we know who's moving in, and who's moving out?

Here's a clue: Of new arrivals in Teller County last year, the vast majority came from El Paso County. Whether because of retirement or because they just don't like the new Colorado Springs, a lot of our citizens are getting out of Dodge, but not necessarily leaving the area.

And presumably leaving the G, along with the stuff that didn't sell at the garage sale, in the Dumpster.

Former City Councilman John Hazlehurst isn't thinking about moving to Divide, despite rumors to the contrary.


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