In Scramble for Readers, Good News Judgment Sometimes Left Behind

Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL), August 14, 2002 | Go to article overview
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In Scramble for Readers, Good News Judgment Sometimes Left Behind


Byline: Jack Mabley

A dozen or so years ago a Chicago TV station got tired of being monitored, reviewed and criticized by newspapers.

So they began a regular critique and review of Chicago papers. I don't remember the details, but I thought it was well done, and I was sorry it didn't last.

Since then, there's been little review or criticism of Chicago papers. The free weekly Chicago Reader has an excellent media review, but the paper has little circulation in the suburbs.

This is introduction to some comments on what's going on now in the city.

On Monday, the Sun-Times ran a full page ad from a group of Jewish sponsors strongly criticizing the Tribune for what it charges is biased coverage of the Israel-Palestine conflict. The bias, they say, is toward Palestine.

On Tuesday, the Sun-Times carried a front page banner headline reading: "Record Fund Raising For Jewish Group."

That story must set a record for overplay of non-news. It started on page 1 and ran over to page 2.

It was an obvious pitch for Jewish readership. In the judgment of the editors it was more important than events in Chicago, Springfield, Washington, the near East, the Middle East, Afghanistan, and the sky. (A blanket of smog over the Pacific is responsible for thousands of deaths in India and China).

The Tribune and Sun-Times are in fierce competition for readers in Chicago. Part of their strategy is to print news, features, editorials and columns favorable to racial and religious groups.

The principal owner of the Sun-Times is Lord Black of Crossharbour. Before Lord Black migrated to England he was Conrad Black of Canada, owner of a lot of newspapers.

All of this helps me understand why the Daily Herald is successful in competing with the Chicago dailies. (See Friday's editorial page for our take on the Israel-Palestine conflict).

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In Scramble for Readers, Good News Judgment Sometimes Left Behind
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