Magazine article Editor & Publisher

No More O.J. - at Least in One Newspaper

Magazine article Editor & Publisher

No More O.J. - at Least in One Newspaper

Article excerpt

THERE WON'T BE any more dramatic shots of O.J. Simpson breaking down in court. No breathless accounts of the jury's latest rebellion, or its reaction to shocking crime scene photos.

In fact, in the Carrollton, Ga., Times-Georgian, there won't be any more news about the so-called "trial of the century" at all.

Recently, the 11,217-circulation daily imposed a total blackout on coverage of the O.J. Simpson murder trial.

Characterizing the trial as a "farce" and the antics of its high-profile players as "buffoonery," publisher Pat Cavanaugh vowed that the ban would stay in place "until the fat lady sings."

Cavanaugh said the new policy is "sort of serious, and sort of tongue in cheek."

He added that mainstream coverage of the trial has become so distorted and overblown, "people have just had it. You find yourself going home at night, nasty and bitter, talking back to the TV."

The decision to go cold turkey was prompted by reader complaints over the amount of coverage devoted to the trial, Cavanaugh said.

Since the ban was announced, the newspaper has received just two responses from disgruntled readers, including one who said she could not "do without" what she called "the mother of all soap operas."

But bucking the national media trend also has won the Times-Georgian a legion of new fans. Over 200 supportive letters have come in from around the world, as well as 10 new subscriptions, Cavanaugh said. One letter from a man in Turkey said that media coverage of the trial was making the United States "look awful. …

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