On Mother's Day, the Annapolis Capital ran a story about a local lesbian couple with two kids. Something out of the ordinary, progressive, and perhaps even controversial? We'd call that "news." The paper's editor calls it a mistake.
Yesterday, Romenesko got his hands on a draft of an editorial that Capital editor and publisher (red flag!) Tom Marquardt wrote about the controversy that ensued in Annapolis after the paper ran that Mother's Day story. The short version: like 99% of local newspaper editors, Marquardt was only too eager to cave to the local cranks and bigots.
Unfortunately for us, we lost sight of what the readers want to read: feel good stories about people who reflect their values. Newspapers need to mirror its readers - all of them perhaps, but inclusion not at the exception of the majority.
Take a moment to savor the absolute debasement of journalism contained in this quote. Readers want crapola pseudo-news that agrees with every last one of their prejudices, and by god, that's what we're going to give them. That quote should be read aloud as a sort of Pledge of Allegiance in small-town newspapers across America, every morning.
Marquardt's column didn't actually run, because some staffers objected to it. We salute you, faceless souls of journalism trapped at the Annapolis Capital. We can only pray that you'll make it the hell out of Annapolis one day. Or at least get the editor's job there. Yeesh.