Around our house, Susan and I still get the occasional printed version of the local newspaper. Lots of unanswered, or unexplained words in that sentence, I suppose.
First, we enjoy sitting around reading the paper, giving each other spoiler alerts about stories the other has not read, or making comment on the latest political stupidity to be found far and near. And I say “occasional” because the paper is home-delivered only four times per week, now. There are the too-numerous times when the delivery guy does not deliver, or tosses the paper under the car, or drops it in the middle of the road and it get trampled by elephants or something.
Having survived 40 years in the journalism trade I’ve earned the right to bitch about the quality, or lack thereof, in the Cleveland Plain Dealer (aka Plain Squealer) these days. That, however, is not today’s rant. Today we’ll talk about story juxtaposition. I know, advertising keeps the lights on. During major political campaigns, the lights burn even brighter. Mostly, these days, it appears automobile ads are about the only kinds of advertising there is—other than the pile of slicks that attend the Sunday paper—with increasing frequency as we head toward that now National Holiday—Black Friday.
We’re still fortunate to get a bit of news about the environment in Sunday’s paper. For some, like us, stories about rectangular-shaped icebergs are cool. We like it. Stories about starving polar bears not so much. This Sunday I noticed the environmental news was wrapped in nothing but ads for automobiles. Not electric cars or even hybrids. It was 90 percent gas guzzlers.
But then, I suspect the newspaper is most likely put together (we used to call it being laid out) by computer algorithms. We can’t expect the computer to know the difference between an avalanche in the Swiss Alps from an Avalanche from General Motors.