Sunday, April 03, 2005

The Chronicle and skinflint journalism

It must seem like a win-win deal for the SF Chronicle's editors: Recycle old columns by regular contributors, save some money, and you get more or less readable copy. More or less is the operative phrase here, since not even the columns of Herb Caen, master of three-dot journalism, hold up very well on repetition. Caen's daily columns often captured and expressed a moment in the life of the city perfectly, but they lose a lot with the passage of time. Ditto for Jon Carroll's retreads we're now faced with while he takes one of his vacations. This morning we even had a Lowell Cohn column---dubbed a "Chronicle Classic"---from 1985. Even worse, it was a whimsical sports column plunked down, oddly, in the middle of this mornings pink section. This is lazy editorial work, even if it does save the paper some money. In a city where so many claim to be writers, why not try out some fresh talent?

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