McCarthy: Not Your Father’s Indy Star

September 30, 2015

by Fred McCarthy

Nearly two months ago, I posted an essay under the title “An Explanation, Please?” It concerned a morning paper story headlined, “Brewer, Hogsett Need to Share Plans” that described a meeting of the two mayoral candidates with the paper’s editorial board. The author was disappointed in a lack of specifics in campaigns.

This week, I saw an editorial headed “Indy Voters Deserve Better.” The point seems to be a lack of debates, which presumably would enlighten voters. A specific paragraph caught my attention:

“The scheduled debate time is simply not enough to adequately explore the many complex challenges and opportunities facing this city, and for voters to get a firm handle on which candidate is best qualified to lead Indy for the next four years.”

It occurs to me, perhaps wrongly, that a reason for the existence of a daily newspaper is to dig out, verify and print the very type of material suggested in the editorial.

But I must plead ignorance. Exactly which individual at a daily paper decides what is truly important to its readers and to the welfare of its city? I don’t know. But I am disappointed in the decisions reflected in the one in front of me.

Section A (12 pages) presumably carries general news of interest and importance. Of those pages, one is devoted to a football game, including most of the front page for art and text. A little more than five pages are advertising.

Section B (six pages) carries the Gannett version of national news, with two pages devoted to sports and entertainment.

Section C (12 pages) is more sports news, about one-quarter of one page being used for an ad.

With about two-thirds of the total content of the morning’s paper devoted to sports, the editorial plea that something really germane to the improvement of city government needs to come out of a debate strikes us as odd.

Rather, it would seem the editor could assign his staff to ask the serious questions about the specific issues he finds missing from the public discussion, because press releases are too unreliable.

The author, publisher of Indy Tax Dollars, was a registered lobbyist for taxpayer and business organizations for every regular and special session of the General Assembly from 1949 through 1988. (Reprinted by permission.)

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