Monday, November 03, 2003

CinWeekly Review: Ex-Sorority Girl's Delight

If you think Katie Couric is the queen of intellectual discourse, then this is your weekly. It is disposable. It has a shelf life of no more than one week, and that is being generous. I have no reason to actually keep a copy around. I don't know if there are even any accessible archives, but I guess there is nothing much to blog, so I don't imagine I will need an archive.

Now that I have told you how much I love it, let me get specific with problems:

Opinion: Does anyone at CinWeekly have an opinion? I mean an opinion on something beyond the fluff. I don't mean a top ten list. I don't mean the opinion on a movie, rock concert, or restaurant. I mean an opinion on a topic of political/social/economic significance to the city/state/region. I was hoping there would be someone writing an individual column with something of substance. For example, something with topics that Kathy Y. Wilson, Maureen Dowd or even Peter Bronson might write about. I figured they might want an ounce of credibility, but intellectualism (even a little bit) is not going to make them any money. Their market demographic is what drives their content. If you like to think about something other than wall paper patterns or seeing the latest Hollywood feature length commercial, then this is not your weekly.

Milquetoast: This publication reminds of the "prefab four," the Monkeys. To my younger readers, think "Boy Band," a group manufactured to market products. CinWeekly is 88 pages of advertisements. Even the stories are selling something, whether it be the latest movie, music, local event, or activity. There is not any "news" in what was originally considered to be a "newspaper." This is not a newspaper. This is People Magazine meets the Yellow Pages. Bland as Velveeta, tame as a dead cat.

Native Snobbery: My impression overall of the first issue was one of what I call "Native Snobbery." The tone was illustrated by the "quiz" where they ask "Think you're a 'true' Cincinnatian?" I took this test semi-seriously. Now, I know it was meant as fun, but I only got a score of 5 and I have lived in Cincinnati for 9 years, and I have been in South West Ohio for 13 years. I am not ignorant of this city, but as an “outsider,” I don’t totally fit in. This confirms a big problem here in Cincinnati. If you were not born here, or lived in the area since you were a child, then you are an outsider. You are not treated poorly, you just are never as close of a friend as one who grew up here. This is not unique to Cincinnati, but it seems to take on an increased meaning with the structures of the institutions around here and the dislike of difference. Outsiders are different, to one degree or another. I would have hoped that this publication would appeal to those who are new to town and don't know as much. Instead, I felt like they were saying "Here is how a real Cincinnatians acts. Eat this, watch this, listen to this, think like this. You will comply or be buried under a giant 3-way, which is on sale now at your local Skyline."

Anything Good? Well there are a few things. It looks nice. I am not big on how publications look, but this one is not horrible. The website is functional. It has too much going on and buries the content in favor of advertised listings, but that is user friendly. The writing is not bad, but the topics are just mundane. Good Housekeeping breaks more ground.

This is only the first issue, and it will take time for these folks to find a voice that will be credible. At this point it lack credibility. It is meant for the suburbanite. The city loses out again as Gannett ignores people who are not looking for the bland picket fence life, or as it is today: the cul-de-sac life. Minority issues are not well represented. You would not even know there were gay people in town if you read this publication. I guess they don't want to piss anyone off anyone in the CCV, so their religion listings are not mixed with any of the Northside bars.

I look for improvement. I can be optimistic. I am a cynic at heart, so it is very very difficult. I wish there was something that would appeal to me. I know I am not the normal consumer they are trying to reach. I like to think. I like to read. I like to learn something new about the city and the world that does involve having to buy or consume something. I don't see this publication as something impacting society in a positive way. I hope that can change.

I also wonder how many of those lovely pink CinWeekly boxes line the streets of OTR. I would bet, not many, if any.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Don't be an idiot or your post will be deleted.