I love newspapers. Love 'em. Even in the Internet age, I couldn't imagine starting my day without breakfast, coffee and the newspaper.
But newspapers are making it harder and harder for me to love them. Because the people who run them are hell-bent on destroying them.
The latest example to slap me in the face came Saturday morning, when I brought the Los Angeles Times in from my driveway and there was absolutely no mention, zero, on the front page of John Wooden's death.
I couldn't believe it.
Among other things, newspapers serve as instant time capsules. There are certain days, for me at least, when I can't wait to get the morning paper. Mostly, these days come after a monumental news story occurs.
This was one of them.
I flipped back to the sports section, and there was a huge photo of Wooden and excellent (as usual) columns by T.J. Simers and Bill Plaschke. Back to the front page, in case I had missed something. No. Nada.
After several minutes, I found six boxes under the Simers and Plaschke columns -- known as "refers", in the biz -- indexing where the various stories in the package could be found. A story on Wooden's Pyramid of Success, for example, on page C-7. Well, the first box read "Obituary for an American Icon" on A-1.
No obituary. On John Wooden. In the Los Angeles Frickin' Times.
Obviously, there was some miscommunication in production and somebody didn't replace something that had been planned for the front page with a big Wooden spread.
How could this happen? Hmmm, I know! That's easy!
The corporate owners of the Times have laid off so many copy editors, production folks, writers, etc. over the past several years that the paper is a shell of what it once was. And egregious mistakes occur more and more frequently (though this is off-the-charts egregious. This might have been the worst newspaper screw-up I've ever seen).
Same story at nearly every other newspaper.
Three times so far this baseball season, the Padres' final score has not made it into my San Diego Union-Tribune (another paper that lands in my driveway each day). Again with the new corporate owners. They moved deadline up so far that even Padres games that ended around 11 p.m. weren't making it into the newspaper.
Now, the kicker: Each of those three times the Padres didn't make it into my local paper (I live in northern San Diego County), the final box score was in the Los Angeles Times.
Now how in the hell can the San Diego paper pull that? Has it got death wish?
Wait, don't answer that.
Obviously, it's gotten a lot of complaints because a week or so back there was a note from the sports editor detailing new deadlines and promising that every effort would be made to get the Padres' final in the paper.
So that's the state of newspapers today: By their actions, essentially broadcasting to their readers, hey, there's no need to subscribe to us. Because depending on circumstances, there is a very good chance we won't have what you care about in our slimmed-down paper.
I love newspapers. And I will continue subscribing until they turn out the lights on the very last one.
But, dammit, what's wrong with you people running them?
(Oh, and excuse me for veering off topic on this blog today. If you came here looking for baseball news, here's what I got: Wooden loved baseball, and he especially loved Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter, Dodgers manager Joe Torre and Angels manager Mike Scoscia. There. There's the tie-in to baseball.).