Thursday, March 06, 2008

Journalism back in the day

When I was growing up in the late 80s and delivering the daily, The Post-Star was a decent paper. Not a great one, but a decent one. I've written before about how the paper has deteriorated sharply in recent years. Particularly in terms of lower quality writing and a profilication of cheesy graphics and of huge photos designed to distract from the lack of text.

In Crandall Library's temporary digs in the Godnick's Building, they had a framed photo of The Post-Star from March 19, 1956. The main relevance was the reporting of a fire that burnt down that building.

But a closer look crystallized the differences between The Post-Star of 1956 and the modern-day version.

The typical Post-Star front page today has maybe 5 or 6 stories and at least one huge photo and/or graphic. And of those stories, there's at least one fluff piece on topics like a bridge in Scotland that dogs like to jump off or people who eat insects for dinner.

The issue from 1956 had a full 13 (thirteen!) different stories on the front page, as well as two small pictures of the fire. Several of the stories were international, including ones on Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev's Secret Speech denouncing Stalin, an independence rally in the then-British colony of Singapore and an assassination in the capital of Cyprus. All the pieces were hard news.

There may well have been fluff pieces in that issue but standards were higher back then when such stories weren't put on the front page.

1 comment:

PCS said...

You can see the same thing in the old issues of the Adirondack Daily Enterprise. Back in the day the front page looked very much like the NY Times in that there were articles covering national and international events. Maybe it was due to the number of patients from NY city living in the sanataria. Takes about 5 min. to read the ADE these days and 4 of those minutes are spent on the comics.