Jeff Jarvis, who invented Entertainment Weekly, used to work for the Chicago Tribune, where his mom would read his stories and then tell him all about them, because the old coot didn't realize he had written them himself. You know, this kind of thing happens. Just yesterday my wife told me about this crazy new publisher that wasn't going to pay advances or accept returns. The daughter of a newspaper bureau chief told me how her dad couldn't get anyone in the family to read his stuff. But Jarvis, now an angry blogger, isn't like the rest of us. He wants to take out what his mom did to him on an entire profession, so today he said on CNN some local newspaper writers should be fired because of his mother:
JARVIS: It's an economic decision, Howie. You know, it starts with a joke where a priest, a rabbi and critic get on a boat, and one of them has to get off. And that's really what this is about. There is no punch line here. It's that it's about saving the leaking boat of newspapers.
And, you know, criticism has changed necessarily, because it's not inherently local. The opinion about a movie in Cincinnati or Cleveland is not different...
HOWARD KURTZ, Reliable Sources, CNN: Jeff Jarvis, I mean, I certainly agree that if you're really down to a crunch and you've got to lay off the city hall reporter, or the school's reporter, maybe the critic is going to go first. But what about the local flavor of a newspaper? I mean, people arguing about whether Joe Jones panned or praised the new George Clooney flick.
Isn't that — wouldn't that be lost?
JARVIS: I don't really buy that. There is nothing local about it.
You know, when I worked for "The Chicago Tribune," in the same city with my parents, my mother would tell me about stories that she read in the paper. And I'd have to say, "Ma, yes, I know. I wrote it."
My own mother didn't notice my own byline. So I don't think...
KURTZ: Don't bring your family problems into this.
JARVIS: It tells you a lot, I know. But I don't think that that value of the byline is so great.