Recently, there have been some events (some more outrageous than others), which have led me to boycott and generally lose faith in three of Philadelphia’s most widely known media outlets: local NBC affiliate, Channel 10 and Review Publishing’s Philadelphia Weekly and The South Philadelphia Review.
As a writer in the city, I’m constantly reading, watching and listening to what’s going on around me. From my computer screen, to my television and every publication I can get my hands on, I am constantly absorbing and assessing the work of others. It’s this type of submersion that I’ve come to know as part of my work environment.
Many times, stories can inspire. Other times, they help to engage. But recently, the work that is being passed off and accepted as professional journalism is redundantly uninformative, overly inappropriate or just downright un-newsworthy.
I cannot in good conscience continue to patronize these media outlets. And in making that decision for myself, I’ve decided it prudent to keep others informed as well.
Years ago, during the 9-11 coverage, I became absorbed by the 24 hour news cycle. I watched Channel 10, my local NBC affiliate for hours on end. During that time in our nation’s history, people were scared, myself included and NBC was providing a service, keeping the public notified and updated.
Fast forward 10 years and NBC10 has continued its three-hour span of evening news coverage and yet has let its content become mundane and irrelevant, at best. Giveaways at backyard parties, weather updates and community paper shredding events have overtaken what used to be a time when the most important stories of the day were explained, discussed and reported.
There are things going on in this city that are hardly covered: news that affects real people struggling every day to survive in this city. There are businesses struggling with a slow economy and city bureaucracy. There is redistricting because of the census information, murders and robberies, education that never seems to improve and even parts of the city that still don’t have recycling programs…the list can go on forever. National news rarely makes the cut and lets not even talk about international issues that aren’t even acknowledged.
But NBC10 opts to use its time on the airwaves to revive the same map of the weather from 10 minutes before and to allow anchors to squeal on about phone banks and when the next great shredder event will come to your area.
Instead of covering things that people need to know about, Channel 10 has morphed into some sort of advocate. Just trying to make our lives easier.
Instead of engaging their audience by reporting on important issues, they’ve capitalized on turning viewers’ brains into mush. How many times can you repeat the same junk stories? How many times can Glen Hurricane Schwartz or Tracy Davidson sit in front of a camera and basically sell the NBC brand?
Its NOT news. It’s an insult. And I’m changing the channel.
As a former intern with the Philadelphia Weekly, I’m always interested in what they have to write about. Many of their stories are great and writers like Tara Murtha continue to engage. But because of this past week’s issue, I have lost any and all respect for the publication.
Why? Because just a few pages into my flipping through, I came across the photo of a mustached muff: labia, clit and stash.
I didn’t even bother to read the article. Opening up a celebrated paper to find a picture of a woman’s vagina made me so disgusted that whatever was said beneath lost all value.
I get it. Shock value and all. But is that sort of inappropriate imagery necessary? It’s interesting that online, the vag shot has been omitted, only to show said vag’s owner Tanya Dakin in an almost childlike pose.
PW: Maybe next time you can do a story on OBGYN’s and get a full shot of a chick with her legs up in stirrups. Maybe she has a case of genital warts you could throw on the cover. Make it a genital warts issue.
Maybe that would be appropriate.
With a competitor like the City Paper putting out real stories with interesting and informative coverage, having to reduce yourself to that level speaks to your ethics and morality in general. Let alone what you feel is “good journalism.”
Needless to say, I won’t be picking up this alt-weekly on Wednesday.
The South Philly Review.
As a native Philadelphian, I grew up reading the South Philly Review. Each week’s social announcements were always fun to scan and of course, when my first niece was born, her photo was proudly displayed by her Zia Marilyn.
As I’ve gained perspective over the years, I’ve realized that other than the social announcements, in addition to the food writing, which I feel to be the papers weakest quality, the coverage here is lacking, antiquated and generally sad. In this past week’s issue, an article originally written in 2001 was reprinted because the writer was on vacation.
The article took up half a page. There are writers in this city that would give anything for a chance to write for a real media outlet, myself included. And instead of actually trying to engage their readers with new and interesting stories, the South Philly Review chose to run a piece that was 10 years old.
What a waste of space.Luckily, when it rains the South Philly Review is delivered in a plastic bag, keeping my dog-poo bag collection stocked. Glad it’s good for something.
Journalists have a responsibility to provide their audience with important and timely information. But with the changing landscape of media today, some of the city’s most well known outlets are putting out their shoddiest work to date.
I’m local writer with a fresh and interesting view on the city around me and yet for some reason, I’m left to babble on to my blog audience while accepted mainstream media outlets are applauded for old, inappropriate and generally mediocre coverage.
Disgusted doesn’t even start to describe my feelings. But in my anger and disdain for meritocracy, I’ll just do what I do. Report to my audience. And know in my heart that the bullshit publications that pass as news in this town will eventually fall like the house of Murdoch. And what will be left? Independent reporters.