To the editors:
I salute your recent attempt at making changes at your newspaper, but I would suggest that they are mostly superficial and irrelevant. They certainly do not merit the hype that attended them. Of any publication I see regularly, yours seems the most resistant to any change. The notion that progress is a good idea may be a part of your editorial content, but this is not reflected in your paper’s makeup. The most critical problem with the Reader is that it is overstructured. There is a lot that happens every week in Chicago that could never fit into the Straight Dope, Hot Type, theater reviews, or an overlong cover story.
What causes me to write is the total lack of any election coverage or returns. Your paper came out on Thursday (dated Friday) but little mention was made anywhere that the previous Tuesday an election was held. OK–your deadlines did not allow much time for coverage, and results can be left to TV and the dailies. But how about blowing an insert running down all local election results at the last minute? Doesn’t it matter to your readers? You ran articles before the election that indicated there was some importance to what happens in the polling places; should you now just drop the whole thing because the Reader has never bothered to do it before?
Your recent ballyhoo about the changes you have made is a good sign. Maybe you recognize that you need to shake things up a little, and you’re starting off slow. Separating the third section into two parts ain’t quite it–keep going.
PS: When I remarked to my wife Mary that no election returns or coverage were in the Reader she replied “But it’s not a newspaper!”