Monday, December 06, 2004

How Low Will They Go?

No, I'm not back to blogging. It'll be January 1 at the earliest before I even decide on that. But I saw this front page article in Monday's Commercial Appeal and was so stunned and outraged, I had to comment.

How much do you think any business would pay to have the top half of the front page of the daily newspaper? Invaluable, right? Unheard of, right? Apparently not if you're FedEx/Kinko's!

Under the headline Ship a bull's head? 'Yes, we can,' at FedEx Kinko's: United capabilities put new stores' staffs to the test is an article that reads like a feature rewrite of a press release. It is nothing but a long, pointless advertisement for FedEx/Kinko's. It has no news purpose, no news value, no point! It fits into their new "Business is good. Rah rah, sis-boom-bah!" Business section, but transplanted to the front page, the main news page, it's flabbergasting in extremis:
The corner Kinko's was always a can-do kind of place, abuzz with ink cartridges hitting on all cylinders.

Now, as part of FedEx, the FedEx Kinko's Office and Print Center is a multitasker's dream, a place where you can drop off your problems, get them solved and have the solution shipped.

"Our mantra is: 'Yes, we can,'" said Julie Clark, manager of the region's first new FedEx Kinko's at 6641 Poplar.

"There's no other option. We ship packages, and we solve problems."

When a local taxidermist brought a 65-pound bull's head for shipping, new hire Lauren Howell admits she blinked. Then she started looking for a box.

"With these difficult-to-ship items, people think we won't be able to do it or that it will be a big hassle," she said. "It isn't at all. Sure, we have a box to ship your golf clubs. Sure we can wrap a baseball bat."

Besides being loaded with user-friendly technology, including wi-fi and digital image processing, Kinko's gives FedEx a storefront on Main Street.
Is this what Chris Peck's Commercial Appeal is becoming? I'd expect this from a Shopper's News or the North Shelby Times, but the venerable daily newspaper? The paper of record for Memphis and the Greater MidSouth? (Or the Memphis Omnipolitan MegaGeopolis, or whatever they're calling it.)

It's worse than unconscionable. With everything going on in Memphis, Shelby County, the MidSouth, America and the world, this is top-of-the-front-page news? This is what's most important to know on Monday morning? I wonder if any of FedExKinko's competitors will get an equal-footing opportunity like this? Ya think?

A bad paper keeps getting worse. What's next for the front page? Pictures of kittens? Headlines like Not that many dead: It could be worse? "Your ad could be here?" COUPONS?

You think this paper is hitting bottom, then they bust open the secret tomb and new chambers are revealed.... And it'll be years before we get out from under this crap-pile of tapioca.