Wine,Wine Writer

Newspapers are dead as we knew them; or, the turkey in the room

One by one, I’ve watched trusted newspaper wine columnists get the sack from their editors. Some have been replaced by younger, rising stars, some columns went into syndication, and some just had wine disappear all together. In all of this, the evolution has been fascinating to watch… But, today the final bomb just fell from the sky; and, in a rush to get this one to print, the owner of the dealership’s name was misspelled. Oh… dear…

It happened in Crawfordsville, Indiana in their Journal Review…


You might want to consider rehiring an editor to cover your own job…

This image was just shared on Facebook by Howard Hewitt.

The stream that followed is priceless. With Howard’s permission to share.

It’s the end of the world as we know it! Local paper puts full page ad on front page!

Howard wrote: It’s the end of the world as we know it! Local paper puts full page ad on front page!
  • Stephen: It’s above and below the fold! Seriously, that is depressing.
  • Greg: That’s no longer a newspaper. It’s just a paper.
  • Dave: Where’s the “news” portion of that paper?
  • Jo Diaz O-M-G
  • Peter: Maybe the fact that they could still sell a full-page color ad is the front-page news!
  • Gregory: Makes those little “ear” coupons on P1 not so bad!
  • Adam: I’m reporting this post! (Still remember your unpublished editorial on this topic. Seems more than appropriate today.)
  • Rob: Wonder how much that cost? (Besides their soul. In addition to that.)
  • Adam: Guess what else? They misspelled Rohrman’s name! Classic.
  • Howard Hewitt OMG Adam, you’re right. Embarrassed to say I hadn’t noticed that …. Classic Indeed. And big shout out for remembering my unpublished rant.
  • Howard Hewitt I’ve written a letter to editor – let’s see if they print it. I may post here regardless.
  • Peter: I’m more interested in WHERE they will print your letter to the editor!
  • Heather: I’m hoping that’s just a wrap, right
  • Howard Hewitt Heather, it’s not a wrap … look at the little note upper right directing readers: “Turn the page for the Journal’s regular content.
  • Howard Hewitt Oh, this has already been shared a couple times…. so I should note here … not only is it an ad on the front page — BUT .. the advertiser – Bob Rohrman – the name is spelled wrong! Ya just can’t make this crap up, folks
  • Kim: I can remember when advertisers begged for page 1, but we said NO WAY. But then our lives changed as we once knew them. Sad day indeed. And misspelling too!
  • Mary: I knew it would come to this some day. The Courier Journal has been running an ad across the bottom of the front page lately.
  • Ray: I wonder if Bob is “Rorhring” mad today. Greg: I didn’t have a problem with the “ear” coupons during my publisher days, but this full-page thing is unconscionable. I am curious as to what readers think. Howard, give us any feedback that you might pick up.
And, I’m one of the people who also shared it. This builds into Howard’s credibility. And, I was pretty disgusted to see this front page… Remember, I was in radio and couldn’t produce a segment of Modern Health, where I disclosed that for every ounce of soda, Sheree’s almost ONE teaspoon of sugar. This was in the 80s, and was pulled by the general manager, who told me that a soda company was one of her biggest advertisers, so it was a no go/no show. Broadcasting 101, people.
I lead in with: Yeah… Okay, finally telling it like it is… Corporations own the news, and copy doesn’t want to tick anyone off, so nothing controversial, please and thank you… So, just put up corporate dribble, in the way of advertisements. It’s still great for starting a wood stove fire, though.
  • Fredric Koeppel speechless….
  • Jo Diaz It’s unthinkable, and truly a sign of how useless papers have become. Everyone’s online; plus, the truth is currently allowed to flourish, because there aren’t any advertisers. I can’t tell you how many people I’ve turned down, who have tried to buy a line in one of my blog stories… Sneaking in their advertising, Fredric. But this? It’s the end of newspapers as we knew them.
  • Katie Jalbert Kelley Just because it’s on the internet doesn’t mean it’s true. Anyone can take this picture and post a caption that says it’s the front page.
  • Tina Caputo: I talked recently with the director of a creative agency that creates ads for various clients, and even he lamented publishers’ willingness to give up formerly sacred editorial space to get money in the door.
  • Howard Hewitt Hey Jo, I’m so glad you shared this. I’m not sure just how many papers have done this .. but I was beyond shocked this morning. I’ve written a letter to the editor. Let’s see if they print it.
  • Howard Hewitt Katie, I took the picture. It happened in Crawfordsville, Indiana, today. I was in the newspaper business, including being editor of this paper for 2.5 years, some time ago. And oh by the way, the advertiser Bob Rohrman – the name is spelled wrong at the top of the page – PAGE ONE!
  • Katie Jalbert Kelley That’s bad. I only commented because so many pictures are shared, even when the source isn’t known. Magazines have been doing this for a while (an “advertising wrap,” I think they call the fake cover), but a newspaper? That’s so disappointing. Unfortunately, it’s a sign of the times. So many papers are struggling to survive in the age of instant/free news.
  • Jo Diaz i also knew Howard is/was a trusted source for this one. I’m happy that you questioned it, Katie, because anyone else that did, but didn’t speak up, now knows it’s real and a sad commentary of our times…

4 Responses to “Newspapers are dead as we knew them; or, the turkey in the room”

  1. Howard says:

    I wrote a rather passionate letter to the editor about the Page 1 ad. I had my doubts they’d print it – since I am a former editor and they didn’t want a few truths published. But I heard yesterday from a good source that it was poo-pooed on arrival. I will post letter to Facebook over the weekend. The paper also carries my wine column. Be interesting to see if that survives.

  2. Jo Diaz says:

    Okay… your column may be in jeopardy. You know you’re not supposed to tell the truth, silly Howard…

  3. Patti Burke cuddemi says:

    This response has little to do with newspapers, nor wine. It is about the wonderful tribute to Sir Daryl Martinie. Don’t know why I went searching for him today, I miss him. We were buds back in the turn of the century. , maybe I am just looking for a voice of reason, or perhaps, it is just because… I miss him. Ed kept his spirit in his final services, complete with a human procession to the cemetery, with of course , the band from the north end. You captured him so warmly in your article. Just wanted to say thank you.

  4. Jo Diaz says:

    Patti, thanks you so much for your comment about our dear friend Darrell Martinie… My husband and I loved him so much. He was (and still is) Uncle Darrell to our three daughters. He was also the last person I visited before moving to California. Darrell was that important to us and still is. It’s so sweet to hear from someone else who also loved him.

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