One of the miracles of the age is this: I’m sitting in a bar, writing on my stupid blog. Do I look like a yuppie douche? Probably. But I’m having a nice Czech lager, the day is done, and there’s very likely a shwarma in my future. Which is to say: Who cares?
Wednesdays are becoming my second-favorite night of the week. I drop Kate off at the Max for three and a half hours of music instruction, and I claim the evening for myself. I could go home and catch up on “Top Chef,” wherever it is in its cycle, but I think I prefer the bar.
So, I read this today, about Patch, the hyperlocal AOL experiment that’s sweepin’ the nation, or swept it for a while. We have one here. GrossePointeToday.com competes with it, to the extent we can, with students and volunteers. Our local Patcher does a good job, which I tell anyone who will listen. Our brand is different, and I tell people that, too. But I really, really don’t want to see this:
Patch has implemented a new “One Team One Goal” strategy, with a budget that effectively eliminates anywhere from 50 to 100 percent of freelance dollars, depending on the Patch region and how the supervising editor and regional ad director choose to allocate dollars.
The editorial emphasis is now on “easy, quick-hitting, cookie-cutter copy,” including mandatory “Best Of” features (i.e., best coffeeshop, best burgers, etc.) that compel businesses and readers to visit and participate in the Patch directories. (Each Patch has a directory of local businesses, organizations, churches, etc.)
I’ve noticed that here — a few months back, the local Patch stopped working quite so hard to cover the news and instead started demanding we weigh in on who has the best pizza/hamburger/bar food in eastern Wayne/Macomb counties. Why is it so hard to sell people what they need, and so easy to give them what they want? And I’m not even sure they want it. Who would?
On a lighter note, Romenesko also had more of a give-’em-what-they-want feature — words only journalists use. Such as? “Fled on foot,” for one. I love that one. Everyone should flee on foot more often.
Have we already skipped to the bloggage? Perhaps. How about this, which is by far the most interesting angle on the Pete Hoekstra spot yet: The creator of that ad is the evil genius behind the infamous Carly Fiorina demon sheep spot. Well, that explains a lot.
Via Hank, the answer to the question: What would Thomas Kincaid paint if he were locked in Room 101 for a year and force-fed Glenn Beck recordings, “Clockwork Orange”-style? This.
ANIMALS TALKING IN ALL CAPS. BECAUSE.
A final note: Some of you who’ve been reading here for a while know I have a little cyber-friendship with Amy Welborn, formerly of Fort Wayne, now of Birmingham, Ala. You might also know that Amy had a tragedy three years ago, when her husband, Michael Dubruiel, died unexpectedly, a few months after they made their move.
Amy has published a book about the experience and its aftermath, a sort of “Year of Magical Thinking” with more religion and a trip to Sicily. I downloaded “Wish You Were Here” for my iPad, and have been reading in it over the past couple of days and enjoying it very much. Maybe you will, too, and if you do, you order it via the Kickback Lounge.
With that, let’s start the coast downhill to the weekend, shall we?