A journalist colleague says I’m “being a bit unfair” to Washington Times reporter Christian Toto in complaining that his 10.25 story about all the Iraq movies dying with the public is late to the party, old news, slow on the pickup.
“I have written a story for [a newspaper] on the same subject. It won’t run until a week from Sunday, but I pitched it at least a month ago. The problem is, the world of so-called entertainment ‘journalism’ has changed so drastically that except for a handful of papers — N.Y. Times, L.A. Times, Washington Post — getting stories with real content in is nearly impossible.
“Editors hem and haw. Everything takes a backseat to celebrity profiles. You always hear ‘how can we make it reader-friendly?’ Or ‘what sidebars can we put in?’ Don’t blame the few writers who actually want to pursue these stories; it’s the way the sections are edited these days that’s the issue.
“In [one newspaper’s] case, they will only run entertainment features [twice weekly], which means if you miss that cycle, you’re at least a week behind. Everything now is formatted. There’s little or no room for improvisation.
“As someone who cut his teeth writing solid, newsy features for [a major newspaper] back in the early ’80s, I feel like such a fucking dinosaur today.”