Tuesday, August 19, 2008

He's a man. ... He's a card player, gambler, scoundrel. You'd like him.

I had a good laugh after reading the Aug. 13 blog post by Sacramento News & Review Arts Editor Nick Miller at "Alt Sac". Miller, no relation, was pissed off by an SN&R review posted on Yelp by Midtown Monthly contributor Tony King. He goes into a fury in the comment section and participates in a back-and-forth with Midtown Monthly editor Tim Foster, who signs off as "omf."

Read "SN&R vs. Midtown Monthly on Yelp!" for more information.

Click here to read the reviews of the Sacramento News & Review at Yelp.

Click here to read the reviews of the Midtown Monthly at Yelp.

How's how I see it:

Tony K. is a little too self congratulatory of his own magazine in a separate Yelp review. Public reviews are not the place to defend the deadline of a monthly. Every publication has space to fill. You struggle to fill space when you're unprepared, reporters fail to meet deadlines or an article has serious holes. It sounds nostalgic to longingly talk about the pressure of busting your ass at the last minute. It actually speaks to a less professional atmosphere - where certain situations could have been avoided with better planning.

While Tony K. is quick to boast about Midtown Monthly, he's as quick to lay a dig into the Sacramento News & Review in the linked Yelp review. He criticizes the writers for involving themselves far too much in the stories and for being far too happy about what they produce.

"The problem with the Sacramento News and Review (besides it being a chain newspaper spread thin) is that it tries way too hard to be witty, snarky and edgy," King wrote. "Of course in doing so, the SN&R actually comes across as clueless, hollow and self-congratulatory."

The less first-person, the better. Too often, first-person articles put a reader further at a distance from the subject. They show how a simple reporter can be so close to someone who is newsworthy. It's supposed to propagate a sort of window to another person's life. Sometimes the perspective works, more often, I'm left thinking the article could have done without it. The perspective might be besides the point. I think Tony K. just doesn't like Sacramento News & Review Associate Arts Editor Josh Fernandez. He references him and his articles.

Tony K. doesn't stop with Fernandez. He hates the centerpiece designs, hates the feature subjects, hates the review section and hates the SAMMIES. (At least someone else thought that burrito feature was a bad idea.) He even makes an attempt to equate the newspaper to Starbucks. Sorry, three newspapers does not make a chain, a gaggle or a murder. Maybe he forgot that Midtown Monthly and Capitol Weekly are owned by the same company. I think.

The focus of Miller's fury launches some valid points, but he might be the wrong person to back them. Producing a weekly is more difficult than producing a monthly, and again, don't criticize self-congratulations when you are so quick to do it of yourself. If he were in a comparable position, working at a weekly, maybe his opinion would carry more weight. It's tough to tell whether he's been in Miller's position - the position of an editor at a weekly.

Foster stops by the comment section to point out "the whole 'competition' bit gets really old." I couldn't agree more. He is super even-tempered and brings about some solid points, after apologizing for the so-called free agent. Foster writes: "People piss on SNR because they expect more from it, or remember it a different way. they piss on it because they care." This is important. People spewing vile because they've seen better from SN&R and they'd wish it provided a better counterpart to the The Sacramento Bee.

And yes, I recognize many other people are just as angry with The Sacramento Bee and rightfully criticize the declining story production.

Miller goes off in the comment section, and its great. Each side volleys good arguments. I'd kind of like to meet Foster. I think Miller's the kind of guy who'll pound a couple of shots and then ask what you're having.

A truce was called without Miller going on as much of an attack as King.

He simply phoned Foster and hashed everything out.

Everything's perfectly all right now. We're fine. We're all fine here, now, thank you. How are you?

Alas, the flame war was put out.

(Side note: I'm pretty surprised by the amount of reviews of Midtown Monthly posted in August. There are 11 reviews this month. Someone must be e-mailing friends and telling them to battle. SN&R has six reviews this month too, with most of them following King's attack.)


Ro said...

Wow! I'm headed over now to read a little more. This sounds like an interesting war of words.

Josh Fernandez said...

Fuck you all! Fuck everybody. Fuck it: Fuck me!!

AHhhhhh. Fuck!!!

Josh F.