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Pavlik vs. politics — what's good policy?

By Todd Franko (Contact)

Published February 12, 2008

The big match is nearly upon us.

Passionate foes jabbing at one another. Verbal taunts. Who's stronger? Who's weaker? And claims about who did what with the Cafaros.

I'm talking about the March primaries.

What are you talking about? OK — maybe that fight on Saturday, Pavlik vs. Taylor.

It's tough to miss the Pavlik fight. It has plenty of space this week in our paper. The TV stations are promoting their coverage plans. HBO has its preview special airing (More later this week on that)

Some people will measure The Vindy's Pavlik coverage -- which there will be a lot of -- and ask "Is he that important?" We heard it last fall. We'll hear it again. Some people will measure it against the political coverage, which will also be on our pages, but won't get the same sexy presentation or ooomph as will Pavlik.

Knowing this, it was humorous to read a story out of Houston. An avid hard news reader grilled the paper's editors about not covering the presidential race with their own reporters, but covering the heck out of the NFL playoffs despite the fact that the Texans, Houston's home team, didn't make the playoffs.

The editor was pretty blunt: Professional football is perceived as more popular with readers than professional politics.

Here's the story from the Houston newspaper. Click here.

That's amusing. It's also a reality that many newspapers are facing.

As a newspaper, do you make a judgement and put more staff muscle on "important stories" that you think the public needs to know -- like city councils, political battles, tax-funded agency activities, etc.?

Or do you jump on more populist events and themes, such as Pavlik, the Buckeyes, concerts, shopping, Friday fish fries, summer festivals, etc.

The ultimate answer is a newspaper needs to be strong in both areas.

Many papers have made mistakes over the years being too heavy in "important news" but missing the more populist themes that are more about the lives people live every day — shared interests regardless of what town you live in.

So when you read our pages this week, if you're apt to wonder if we think Pavlik is more important than politics, we're not making a value judgment. But we are recognizing that there is a heck of a lot more appeal across many age groups to what Kelly does as opposed to what council does.



1Cbarzak(110 comments)posted 7 years, 6 months ago

It sounds like an argument you don't need to make if you manage to cover both, and recognize that the stories about what politics, local and national and global, are perhaps more important in the sense that they're shaping the world we live in. I myself would like to see more robust coverage of the local arts and entertainment. Populist coverage is fine for subscriptions, but it really does need to be well-balanced. Good luck!

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