Thursday, March 06, 2003

Some Good Observations

Chris Lawrence comments on my posts about the Commercial Appeal's coverage of the Grizzlies boycott. He makes some good points.

To answer his questions: All of the above.

Part of the CA's problems stem from a perception that Memphis is the capital of some mythic region called the Mid-South, and that therefore the CA is the capital city newspaper. Since Memphis is the only large -- excuse me, "world class" -- city between Little Rock, Nashville, St. Louis and New Orleans, too many folks here have an inflated view of our importance. And that's reflected in and by the paper.

Except that a lot of local news doesn't show up until the Metro section. National news gets all kinds of splash coverage, as though folks don't have radio, television and the Internet to learn from, and usually faster than the CA will print it.

Chris rightly notes that Tennessee east of Jackson seems not to exist for the CA. North Mississippi and Eastern Arkansas, which are technically part of the Mid-South, also get very short shrift, mostly in crime briefs or "Region in Brief" jottings. Political coverage is somewhat better, rating their own headline graphics, but still only hitting the most important stories.

I guess it serves the egos of the folks at the paper to think that they are the New York Times of the Manhattan on the Mississippi. Most of us know that they are a third-rate bias sheet at best. That may be why their average weekly circulation is around 175,000 and their Sunday circulation is 225,000, in a community/region of roughly 1.5 million. Keep in mind that "circulation" often includes everyone in the house if it's a residential subscription, and the total number of rooms in a hotel, motel or office for commercial subscriptions. Look at their boxes, and you'll see that the CA likes to tout that they are "seen" by half-a-million daily.

I'm so sure.

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