Friday, March 18, 2011

I was working at a newspaper in central Arkansas the first day the Northwest Arkansas Times put advertising on its front page

Please click on image to ENLARGE.

Working journalists considered the move a desperate lapse from tradition and a major mistake. But it brought revenue and has continued. Today, I looked down at the yellow bag in my driveway and began laughing. A cursory search of my newspaper brought me to the back page of the sport section (yes, the 's' ought not to be on the word because 'nouns used as adjectives in general do not need to be plural'), but the mindless, needless pluralization of nouns as adjectives is now an established tradition in 'sport' writing that no literate person has ever justified. That is a different topic. If the editors and writers do it, teachers and professors must be allowing it. That is frightening to some of us.

My laughter returned when I skimmed over the full-page advertisement for a truck with a 390-horsepower engine.

I suppose a dealer truly needs a sticker over the masthead and folio information on the front page in order to draw even a single buyer for a vehicle with a payload likely to be less than a ton but with an engine capable of moving a much heavier load.

Such a potential fuel-guzzling machine being manufactured for sale to people who don't need it is the American way, I suppose, and legal. But with a major crisis raising the price of everything, it should not be driven, just bought and parked where passers-by can admire it.

As a person who made a tiny wage for years designing and building newspaper pages, I not only could never have bought such a vehicle new but also hate to have to pull that sticker off my paper for fear of damaging that front page. I value the look and factual accuracy and correctness of word choice and the quality of photographs on the front page I now pay to see. And my concerns about fossil-fuel production and the need for use of renewable energy make the sticker on the front more than a bad joke to me.

I doubt that such advertisement is running in a Japanese paper today, where the reality of the absurdity is more than television or Internet fodder at this moment.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Was terrible enough when I was laying out pages, when they started adding advertisements NEXT to the masthead! Who would have guessed they'd be putting them OVER it!
Ahhhh, it's a grand new century.