editor on the verge

Online musings from the newsroom and beyond . . . by Yoni Greenbaum

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How Andy Rooney entertains himself

November 13th, 2007 · No Comments

Andy Rooney/CBSOk, so for those of your who missed Andy Rooney’s segment on 60 Minutes, the resident curmudgeon turned his “sharp” wit to newspapers, of all things.

As you can see from this clip (sorry, CBS won’t let me embed their videos) Rooney complains about “vague” headlines, “cluttered” ads and reporters covering stories they really don’t know anything about — in this case, Pakistan.

Now, if you were to do something that Rooney seemingly can’t do — focus — you would realize that his attacks are not aimed at newspapers in general, not the New York Times or Wall Street Journal, but at the local newspaper. The headlines he doesn’t like, the ad layout and funny pages are all elements of the local newspaper.

In the segment Rooney explains that “buying newspapers from around the country” and mocking them is essentially his idea of entertainment. I probably wouldn’t object if he took the approach of say Jay Leno, who makes fun of headlines and/or typos. But Rooney’s segment comes across as a mean-spirited attack on an industry that is already hurting. The elements he criticizes are the very elements that make a local paper, well local.

In the end, Rooney tries to placate those of us who might find his dribble objectionable and claims that if he had to choose between TV and newspapers he would choose newspapers. To that I say keep up your public kvetching, Andy, and you might not have a choice to make.

Tags: Industry · Local Newspapers

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