Martha, your article missed the mark [“The Nice Magazine,” March 17]. May he rest in piece, but truth-telling through an alcoholic haze is probably a more appropriate assessment of HST’s journalism. Maybe Thompson has an a ultrasecret sober and balanced journalism that only newspaper folk know about–the rest of us only know the stuff he published. And that, my dear, is entertainment first and news second, if at all.
Which brings me to this line: “They put the interest of their readers before the interest of their subjects.” Martha, lifestyle magazines sell because the interest of the subject is the interest of the reader. My interest in a lifestyle magazine is escapism. My interest in CNN, BBC, and Al Jazeera is information. I don’t confuse the two. The whole “the public has a right to know” goes many ways. I am better off knowing that Chicago isn’t “polished,” and your paper has done a lot to tell me things about this city I wouldn’t have learned otherwise. But the Reader isn’t my only source of news. There are other papers in this town that do a good job of uncovering our city’s problems. There’s plenty to make me gloomy. So how about this: you, the journalist, catering to this reader’s “interest” in some healthy, lighthearted indulgence. Your “healthy skepticism” is misplaced when directed at a magazine that seems to basically say “we are not skeptical.”
Um, in short, I guess, I sometimes wish you writers over there weren’t so depressing. Lighten the fuck up. I consider your paper a friend, but too frequently you’re dressed in black and can be a drag to hang out with. Your readers have more than just a hard-edged, cutting need for someone to tell them that he or she is telling them the truth. I’ll decide what I think is true, what I want to know, and what my interests are.