Letter to the Editor: Daydreaming About Changes at The Chronicle

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I was just daydreaming about what I’d do if I  swere Charles Foster Kane and I could buy the paper. I thought it might be fun to share my top five ideas, presented here in reverse order because counting down is more fun than counting up:

5. Typo scavenger hunt. I don’t notice a lot of typos in The Chronicle (good work!), but anybody who does notice one should be able to fill out a form that enters them into a weekly drawing for something like a free ice cream cone from a local business. You could even insert tyypos on porpoise to give kids an incentive to read the paper closely.

4. More on crime, less on crimes. A lot of crime coverage in The Chronicle feels tabloid-y, especially the big color photos of suspects. More coverage and exploration of local criminal trends and less coverage (or at least less emphasis upon) individual crimes and criminals would be a greater service to the community, I think.

3. More history. I get the sense that a lot of us enjoy old photographs and snippets of local history. The more the merrier, I say. You could add even more value by beefing up the commentary from historians who could connect those snapshots to broader historical narratives.

2. More liberal perspectives. Please? I won’t even suggest that you drop John McCroskey. You can keep him on as a print-only insert if you also give us at least two more-or-less mainstream liberal voices on the opinion page each week. (I promise you will get lots of social media engagement on those posts.)

1. More state government. I regularly see articles about the governor, but not much about the government. Recently, I’ve seen articles about the governor of Texas, the governor of Michigan, crime rates in Minnesota, and the president of Peru—but I don’t see much about Olympia. I do see regular updates on the state Covid response, but I think those are really just Two Minutes of Hate for Jay Inslee. I think a good experiment would be to spend two months publishing the paper as if your readers are all huge Pacific Northwest policy nerds. I’ve been plenty wrong plenty of times before, but my gut says there’s an appetite for more of that kind of coverage.

 

Dale Grauman

Winfield, Illinois