Thursday, July 14, 2011
When last I haunted these halls, I was an angry man with little hope for the future. I wouldn't be here, dusting the furniture, if things had not changed.
Let's take a look at how the larger world has faired.
The market works as it wants. Most of the garbage floated away or was marked as irrelevant. There is still flotsam and jetsam out there. It occasionally brushes by, leaving a slick film, but they are now few. What is left are those who have found their niche and survived the onslaught of Facebook, twitter and whatever is the latest social media flavor of the week.
A year ago, Peach Pundit teetered on the brink of fringe lunacy. Instead of pushing the conversation of in the halls of power, it pushed waves of sludge.. New editor Charlie Harper recruited a stable of writers who understood provocative does not need to be outrageous. It is again the nexus of political talk in the state of Georgia.
As expected, local reporting flourished. The patches have popped up everywhere. In Virginia Highland, the Va Hi patch reported on a neighborhood shooting and a coffee shop stick up before the television stations could start their trucks. Up in Dunwoody, John Heneghan's blog remained a critical resource for the citizens of the young city.
If Decatur Metro weren't still around, I may not have come back. If a model for blogging that well conceived could not survive, then none could. Instead it thrived, expanded and even brought on a wandering wit from the former halls of Creative Loafing.
And Doug Monroe is back. That says it all.
The blogs are in good hands.
More of a mixed bag here but, oh, the changes our professional brothers and sisters have made.
Five years ago, newspaper people bluntly told me, the editorial process would never be removed from the production of news. Never. No one could conceive such a strange thing.
Now, a mysterious troop has free rein on the Atlanta Journal Constitution's twitter feed. They are snarky. They are clever. They are freewheeling. They make mistakes and make no effort to cover them up. Most importantly. they create interest where there once was none.
Jay Bookman once approached blogging as if were a deadly snake. Now, he uses pictures from A Clockwork Orange to make satirical points.
It was as if the road from Marietta Street to Dunwoody were the road to Tarsus and the editorial staff were populated by hundreds of prostrate Sauls.
Speaking of that noted move to Dunwoody, not all in the media is light from above.
A few weeks ago, a shooting went down on Trinity and I commented on Twitter about how it would be nice if a major media outlet was nearby to cover the story. Political writer Aaron Gould Sheinin replied "Ouch". Nothing more needs to be said about the AJC's lack of presence in downtown.
Since the move to Perimeter Center, many have noted the tone of the paper has grown more "suburban". The ultimate slap came in the form of an article which skewed the purpose of the Edgewood Ave streetcar so far, a reader might have believed it was the mythical Shelbyville monorail from The Simpsons. The article was bad enough, but the backslapping full page ad quoting surburbanite praise for the expose' of the folly of the "boondoggle" was beyond insulting.
The paper still has a long way to go. But they've come a hell of a long way already. They should be praised when deserved, but switched back into line when it strays.
Like Fast Eddie Felson, I'm older. Grayer. The eyes don't work quite as well. There have been many changes and we will speak of those later.
But like the old hustler, I still know the game.
Hey, I'm back.