I would like to commend Michael Miner on working to incorporate both sides of the SAG strike in his Hot Type column (August 18). However, as an informed member of society who was made aware of the issues (by the Chicago Tribune and other media outlets) prior to this column, I’d like to confirm that from Joe Public’s point of view, the story still really isn’t all that newsworthy.
Unions have always worked to get the public to be sympathetic to their story, primarily by using the news media to report their issues and grievances. But get over yourselves, SAG. If you’re telling me that I’m going to miss ads without actors on TV, or that I won’t have such great fare as Autumn in New York at the local googolplex, you had better tranquilize me to stop me from laughing to death. If I can’t fly or make a phone call because of a strike, that’s a story.
The Tribune cannot be faulted for moving on and reporting more timely and pertinent stories. Bringing the Tribune to task for running soft news and feature-oriented pieces in Tempo and other sections is also beside the point, as these sections aren’t meant to contain hard news. It’s funny, but I anticipate the SAG would cry foul if their story ran on page three of Tempo, but based on the entertainment content of that section, it’s probably a more appropriate place for it to be.
Newspapers are a business, and always have been. Colonel McCormick knew it back in the 1800s and every editor knows it today. If it’s newsworthy, it will attract readers, and editors strive to find a balance between a large audience and hard news. Just ask the folks at Channel Two how hard that is to do. Today’s top story is tomorrow’s old news. Just ask the children of Ethiopia, the citizens of the former Yugoslavia, and soon, the families of the sailors on that Russian submarine. Old news doesn’t die, it just fades away.