Puhl-leeze Salon

July 14, 2007

I’m somewhat of a devoted Salon reader. I remember when it was brand new and it had a feature called Beyond the Ivory Tower and regular columns from Ann Lamott. I have hung with it through redesigns and re-formats and some truly head up its ass election reporting. Now there are changes afoot that make me angry–and as a paying subscriber, I feel entitled to an opinion. I just said some of these things in a comment I left on Joan Walsh’s blog, but here’s a recap. First, they killed The Fix, my one and only gossip column. The rationale was that it was time to stop paying attention to celebutards when there are more important things to think about. A little bit preachy, but I could live. I no longer had money quotes and the latest updates about breeding habits of the rich and anorexic to sprinkle through my light hearted daily emails and chats, but I suppose that’s not really a necessity. When I started to get a little hot under the collar was when I saw lead writers devoting one and sometimes even two pages to extended analysis of the same crap that they deemed unworthy to summarize in a paragraph. Losing The Fix begat extended coverage of Paris’s petition for home confinement–a whole page by a lead writer that looked completely stupid the very next day when the judge sent her back to jail. Way to have social freaking relevance! Now, for similar reasons, Editor Walsh tells us they are axing Audiofile. I have thus lost an even more valuable source for keeping up on the good and better music out there, complete with free downloads. Again, the rationale has nothing to do with the expense of licensing the music, which I bet was minimal anyway b/c most of the artists they featured had free downloads on their website already, but with deciding to focus on more serious coverage. Give me a break! They’re planning on expanding the War Room, which is a gossipy, poorly designed blog that rarely seems to have anything compelling to say. And just in case you missed their daily for the last year coverage of an election that’s not until the end of next year, they are creating a whole Election ’08 page! Dear sweet Lord! Talk about encouraging bad habits–I personally don’t want to live in a world where every election starts three years ahead of time. Salon is disappointing me and giving up its niche. If I wanted hardcore insider pol gossip, I could go to the Daily Kos. If I wanted smug self-righteous snarkiness, I’d read Slate. Salon for me has tried to walk the balance between these things, but apparently that’s just not good enough for it any more. Yuck. As I also said in my letter, if I Like to Watch is next on the chopping block, you can consider this one subscription not renewed.

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