I am putting this blog on hiatus for a while. I have taken a new job that is going to occupy my attention completely for the next six to twelve months at least, and I simply won't have the time to think about "All the News." I'm not saying I will never pick up the thread again, but I really don't know when it will be....so a few words of at least temporary valediction.
I started this blog four years ago with the idea of doing a little media criticism and having a little fun. I have done both, and although my postings have never been regular, I hope they have been regularly enjoyable or thought-provoking or both.
For the past year, I have been living in Bowling Green, Kentucky, a city of 55,000 in a county of 108,000, and thus a good city to compare to Quincy -- a bit larger and with a bit more economic vibrancy, but similar in many ways. And let me just say, reading the Bowling Green Daily News
for a year has made me appreciate the Quincy Herald-Whig
a lot more. The Whig
is better designed; it has better photography; and it covers local politics, schools, and law enforcement with more regularity and thoroughness. Those of you who thought that the wheezings of Oliver North and Walter Williams were the nadir of editorial commentary should take a look at the Daily News
's lineup -- North and Williams would be right-of-center moderates in that crowd.
Oh, the Whig
has its shortcomings, and I have gleefully pointed them out over the last few years. Its copy editing has been spotty -- I think personnel turnover had a lot to do with that -- and its "build more roads" editorial drumbeat gets tiresome (in a time when state and national governments are running gigantic deficits, is it really wise to push ahead with four-laning Highway 36?). I too get tired of the GREDF-worship, although not to the mouth-foaming degree that other bloggers do. While in Bowling Green, I have appreciated the Daily News
's locally written, genuinely credible book, restaurant, and movie reviews. That's an area where the Whig
falls short. The Daily News
also regularly publishes the Health Department's restaurant inspection reports, with scores, and includes the sale price on its real estate transfers, so that consumers can tell for themselves how the market is doing instead of having to rely on the vested-interest comments of the real estate association. But overall, the Herald-Whig
is a local paper that Quincyans should appreciate. It does a pretty good job with a staff that is smaller than it should be.
I used a pseudonym when I started the blog because I have friends and professional acquaintances among the local media, and I didn't want them to feel uncomfortable around me, knowing that I was making critical and occasionally snide comments about their work. Stepping out from behind the curtain (thin as it was), let me just commend those people who are on the front lines of news production -- whether they work for the Whig
, Quincynews.org, WGEM, KHQA, the Courier-Post
, WTAD, or the other various outlets. Keeping people informed is a thankless, unending job, and in today's media world it has become less economically secure. Yet they persist, not because it pays well, Lord knows, but because they love what they do and they recognize its importance. They compete (usually fairly); they squabble (sometimes justifiably); but collectively they engage in an enterprise that is critical to our successful functioning as a society. My hat would be off to you if I were wearing one.
Quincy was my home for seventeen years, and I cherish the idea that it might someday be my home again. I love the town and many people in it. It too has its faults (smug provincialism, resistance to outsiders, and racial tone-deafness are three that I would mention), but all localities have their faults. Quincy has been the scene of the happiest moments of my life so far, and I thank it for that. Best wishes to you all.