Throwing down the Gannett-let: Josh Aw-try — the Asheville Citizen-Times’ now former, aw-shucks wunderkind executive editor — periodically gave presentations, trying to explain Gannett’s latest “flavor of the month” strategy for doing “journalism” while gutting and then destructuring (“perestroika”) and misdirecting (“glasnost”) their newsrooms. “I’ll be back again in a few months,” he told a recent gathering. “I’ll get it figured out.” But, having got it figured out, he got “kicked upstairs”* to corporate, leaving everyone else in the dark.
*See “percussive sublimation,” The Peter Principle, Dr. Laurence J. Peter, c. 1969.
Where’s the rest of me? Echoing Ronald Reagan’s cry in the classic film Kings Row, Asheville’s alternative weekly — the Mountain Xpress — appealed to someone —anyone — to please find and restore its long-missing news section.
“We did an in-depth analysis and found that news just wasn’t carrying its weight,” said Jeff Fobes, the paper’s editor and publisher. “City Council and the County Commission don’t buy ads; restaurants and yoga instructors do.” So, what would ordinarily be just the interior, features-arts-culture-lifestyle-beer-entertainment-calendar-classifieds section of a good, muckraking alt-weekly, is now “the whole enchilada,” Fobes explained.
I.P. Daily: Alliterative and proud, Carolina Public Press says it’s “In-Depth, Investigative and Independent.” If only the online-only, Asheville-based, profit-free news organization got any R-E-S-P-E-C-T, confessed Angie Newsome, its founder and primary fund-raiser. “If only I could quit constantly badgering people for their tax-deductible (hint, hint) donations — not to mention to get online and read us,” she said. “Do you know how much it costs to publish on actual paper? Who’s got that kind of dough?” Meanwhile, Dough, Asheville’s former pre-trend-shus deli on Merrimon, closed after only a year or so in business — for lack of dough. Like Katuah Market.
Oby wan: “We’re not pay-for-play!” expostulated Oby Morgan, the publisher of Asheville’s most slickly produced free — and pointless — vanity publication, Capital at Play. “True,” thought the applicant for managing editor. “Local entrepreneurs probably don’t buy a pricey ad in the magazine as an outright ‘quid pro quo’ for an article about them — only in the probably well-founded hope that the fancy rag will get around to doing one in due course.”
It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s … The Daily Planet: Or is it The Asheville Tribune? Are these twin titans of local print journalism both still around? Do you ever see Clark Kent and Superman in the same place — at the same time? Meanwhile, “If it wasn’t for DIS-respect, I wouldn’t get no respect at all,” warbled the nation’s only avowed post-theist elected official (and the Tribune’s official whipping boy), City Councilman Cecil “Danger Mouse” Bothwell. “And what is the world coming to when an area’s official Tea Party organ is the only paper doing creditable local coverage?” he wondered.
Street-walker-talker: The January/February issue of Sophie included, on page 8, a woman-on-the-street photo feature … [which] meekly? cheekily? eschewed all principles of journalism by reporting subjects’ apparent, baffling “answers” to mostly un-apparent questions, and by not identifying them by at least first name and, perhaps, occupation or … something.
— David Tell
Editor and publisher
Local Fake News publication (out of print)
Bunkum magazine: That’s a lot of bunk
Editor’s note: The original Asheville Disclaimer notes that it is parody/satire, and we are reasonably sure that this aims to be, too.