Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The Famous Last Word on the Infamous Printed Word

Maureen Dowd may be the Queen Bee but we'd all rather be friends with Gail Collins.

Every week I compile a group of articles featuring what I would consider to be the week's most ridiculous news from [some of] the world's most upstanding news sources.  I scour The New York Times, LA Times, BBC, The Boston Globe, Providence Journal and The Irish Times, amongst others, looking for great writing, crucial snark and the latest in I-can't-believe-this-is-news updates.

The best articles are always those in the Style section (or whatever the particular newspaper calls it) in which the ever hopeful reporter tries to break the newest trend with all the gravity of his journalistic integrity.  The second best is when they report on the young to the bewildered old (Wall Street Journal, I'm looking at you.)  This experience has given me, I think, unique insight into the soul of these periodicals.   Each has its own place in the media's own little cafeteria hierarchy.

For instance, The New York Times is clearly the coolest, smartest kid in the room.  Yes, I know, most of you groaned out there.  But admit it, you groaned because it's true.  NYT has the best writers, hands down, and cover the widest array of issues.  For the five of you who actually read our weekly Friday summary of the news, you'll have noticed that The Grey Lady tends to dominate the conversation.  Their Style section is fantastic.  And no, I don't mean because it's super relevant, I mean because they have good writers writing about completely ridiculous things.  They try really hard to be up with the trends, which often leads to breaking news like "Teenagers share passwords!" or "Being pretty counts for more with teen girls than being smart!" 

That being said, while NYT has the best writers and the best features, they're not the best in every issue area.  When it comes to political news, The Washington Post has that covered.  They tend to have less of a slant than NYT, and they cover a greater spectrum of the political arena.  The Washington Post is never going to be the coolest kid because it tries so hard.  They want  you to like them, they want you to think they're funny and trendy, and they really do everything right.  They even give out a free version of the paper to commuters!  Spreading information to the masses! Journalistic integrity at its finest!

But poor WP, still always picked last in gym class.

And then there's the LA Times.  Oh, LA Times, what can I say about you?  You're the Karen Smith of the cafeteria table, 50% sure you can predict rain if it's already raining.  If WP specializes in politics, the LA Times specializes in the entertainment industry.  The writing's not as good, the reporting isn't as good, but if you want a sneak peek at 2012's summer blockbuster schedule, the LA Times is 50% sure it's your girl if it already has the information

On the complete opposite end of the spectrum reigns The Wall Street Journal.  Basically, the WSJ is the curmudgeonly old teacher who has cafeteria duty and hates every single one of those kids with a burning passion.  WSJ might as well be the Get off My Lawn Journal.  (I'm feeling very clever today.)

I'd like to say something more about the Boston Globe, but you can't read any of the articles without a subscription and the most popular articles can basically be summed up as "Go Pats."

And then there's the Providence Journal.  The ProJo is basically that friend from home with whom  you no longer have a thing in common but still love on fucking principle.

Let's check out the international kids.  One of the reasons why I love Irish people, besides being one, is how much they revel in their own stereotypes.  Enter The Irish Times.  Decent reporting on international politics, but they rival NYT for its style section.  They had entire article on Irish witches! And another one on "the good people"!  They give out guides to boy bands!  They are completely irreverent and I love them for it.

I'd say that the NY Post and the Daily Mail were like the Paris Hilton and Nicole Ritchie of the journalism world, but that reference is not only outdated but perhaps still too classy.  The NY Post and the Daily Mail are more like the Ramada Sisters of the journalism world.  Don't worry, though, they're not charging, so your best sources on Ashton Kutcher's latest exploits are safe.

PS For those of you who clicked on this link because I wooed you with words about journalistic integrity, I apologize. This post was nothing of the sort. Which I suppose does make a bit of sadistic/ironic sense. Is there such a thing as ironic sense? Welp, there is now. Katie OUT.

1 comment:

  1. When booking my hotel for this weekend they asked what newspaper I'd like left at my door in the AM, I said the NYT thank you very much... because inside I will always be the fat 5th grader desperately doing anything for the cool kid to like me.