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Joe Soucheray: We lost more than spelling when we lost the classifieds
St. Paul Pioneer Press ^ | 6/8/12 | Joe Soucheray

Posted on 06/18/2012 6:37:22 AM PDT by rhema

It is entirely self-serving of me to point out that the classified ads in the Pioneer Press seem to be making a comeback, but I think we are past the point of pretending to hide my affection for newsprint. I am not claiming that the classifieds are as busy as a small-town telephone book, or even a small-town church bulletin. I am merely suggesting that I am noticing a revival of sorts, particularly in my fields of misadventure.

In Classic Antique Autos for Thursday, June 7, for example, the category immediately following Volvo and just before 4WD Trucks, there was an offering of five Corvettes, a couple of other Chevrolets, two Fords, an Olds Cutlass, a Porsche 914 and a 1952 Hudson Hornet. A Hudson Hornet!

All told, there were 13 antique or classic vehicles offered Thursday, and I can't wait to read the Sunday paper because Sunday papers still tend to attract a few more sellers. The Marine category was weak Thursday, one offering. Motorcycles offered five selections, two of them Harleys. I would have put mine in the paper and was about to but managed to sell it to a friend by word of mouth and avoided having to place an ad anywhere, about which more will be said in a moment.

To my way of thinking, nothing speaks to the distress of the American newspaper so much as the emaciation of the classifieds, once one of the great pleasures of a fellow's morning. As recently as 2005, I bought a collectible Honda motorcycle out of the classifieds -- unfortunately in the Enemy Paper -- on a day when motorcycles took up about two full-length columns of possibilities. That isn't that long ago.

Well, in just the last seven years, the Internet began roaring even louder and eBay seemed to be the place to go and Craigslist invaded every city and hamlet like a plague of army worms. Because for many of us the adventure is in the hunt, Craigslist has been seen as a blessing. I do not see it as a blessing, for one obvious reason and another not so obvious.

Yes, I like to hop onto Craigslist and see what's what, but I am also afraid Craigslist holds up a mirror to a general decline in spelling and grammar that is absolutely appalling. I am tired of cars that have good "breaks" or rebuilt "trans-missions," or "will send pitchers as soon as abel."

Come on, at least get a dictionary. Not to mention that Craigslist, while having been a treasure hunter's goldmine for better or worse, seems to suggest a note of desperation, that the thing getting sold was just discovered under a tarp and that a foot had been put down in the household to get rid of it as soon as possible.

Thus: "Grate condishion. Run good when last run."

Not so with the newspaper classifieds, which offer the ambience of a gentleman's club by comparison, with newspapers folded on those bamboo newspaper racks and a butler in a waistcoat bringing around samples of single-malt scotch to give a try. In the classifieds, words are spelled correctly, and rather than the advertisement telling of haste and discombobulation, a newspaper ad speaks of deliberation, of the parting with the thing having been weighed carefully.

I sneak a glance at the motorcycles in the paper, but I had a good 15-year run with motorcycles and am phasing out. I am no longer willing to fall off, not when you can merely slip on the ice in your own driveway and have your wrist out of commission for five months. I might even draw the correlation that as classifieds disappeared, distracted driving increased exponentially, probably because so many people had been issued an order to get rid of that canoe on the side of the garage and were rushing home to put on Craigslist that it is "aluminom'' and doesn't need any "mainnenzt."


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Editorial; US: Minnesota
KEYWORDS: buggywhipmedia; craigslist; dinosaurmedia; ivorytower

1 posted on 06/18/2012 6:37:27 AM PDT by rhema
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To: rhema

Face facts, Joe.
newspapers are nearly as dead as weekly news magazines.


2 posted on 06/18/2012 6:45:33 AM PDT by Eric in the Ozarks
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To: rhema

The mayor is right of course.


3 posted on 06/18/2012 6:45:48 AM PDT by Straight8
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To: Eric in the Ozarks

The dead tree media is (thankfully) as dead as the trees. Now if we can just get them to stop making noise.


4 posted on 06/18/2012 6:48:06 AM PDT by muir_redwoods (I like Obamacare because Granny signed the will and I need the cash)
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To: rhema
You stumble across some interesting stuff in the classified. This one is kind neat and makes you wonder where this door was hiding for all those years.

I have a Chevy Suburban Right Rear CARGO door for sale that is NEW IN THE BOX! This Rear door will fit the 1978 Suburban Series and any applicable years for that model . I'm asking $650 OBO for this door. I'm also willing to trade for a quality firearm or a good running Chevy 283, 327, or 350 motor.
5 posted on 06/18/2012 6:53:03 AM PDT by cripplecreek (What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world but loses his soul?)
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To: cripplecreek

All you have to do is watch the Tonight Show “Headlines” to see the quality of spell checking on classifieds in the paper. Not any better than on Craigslist, etc.

So many errors are the result of a Spellchecker automatically changing a word that is misspelled to somehting totally different and the writer failing to catch it. Even happens in Kindle books. Was reading one lately where the word budget was changed throughout the book to “ bud get”.


6 posted on 06/18/2012 6:57:41 AM PDT by rstrahan
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To: cripplecreek

When we printed an obituary with the paper, it was riddled with spelling mistakes.

This is after we sent them a typed obit (that I did myself), that was free of them.

I had to go down and fight them to give us a 50 percent discount and to fix the obit because it was extremely amateur, embarrassing and offensive.

Maybe 20 years ago Newspapers were worthwhile. Now? No.


7 posted on 06/18/2012 7:00:47 AM PDT by JCBreckenridge (Texas, Texas, Whisky)
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To: rstrahan

I saw a mobile home for sale that had an outdoor “Spicket”.

I wanted to call and ask if they’d be willing to sell it to a gringo.


8 posted on 06/18/2012 7:01:02 AM PDT by cripplecreek (What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world but loses his soul?)
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To: Eric in the Ozarks

The last time I looked into placing a Classified Ad the cheapest rate I could find was north of $250.

Craiglist may be full of predators and whores, but you ain’t gonna beat the price!


9 posted on 06/18/2012 7:05:32 AM PDT by Buckeye McFrog
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To: rhema; Eric in the Ozarks; Straight8; muir_redwoods; cripplecreek; rstrahan; Lazamataz
Not so with the newspaper classifieds, which offer the ambience of a gentleman's club by comparison, with newspapers folded on those bamboo newspaper racks and a butler in a waistcoat bringing around samples of single-malt scotch to give a try.

Boy, this guy's indeed out of touch.

"Gentlemen's Club" now means cocktail waitress in tights, longnecks and rotgut bourbon shots in sticky glasses and the smell of stripper patchouli. (So Laz tells me.)

10 posted on 06/18/2012 7:05:33 AM PDT by sam_paine (X .................................)
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To: JCBreckenridge

My local paper printed that I had been arraigned for drunk driving nearly 7 yeas after it happened.

I didn’t know about it till my boss walked out on the shop floor and asked if I was going to need time off to deal with it.


11 posted on 06/18/2012 7:07:44 AM PDT by cripplecreek (What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world but loses his soul?)
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To: sam_paine

Don’t forget the green-skinned alien chick.


12 posted on 06/18/2012 7:08:40 AM PDT by Lazamataz (People who resort to Godwin's Law are just like Hitler.)
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To: sam_paine

And remember how it was when only the “right people” had control of the airwaves and printing presses...


13 posted on 06/18/2012 7:09:03 AM PDT by abb ("What ISN'T in the news is often more important than what IS." Ed Biersmith, 1942 -)
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To: Buckeye McFrog

That’s a chunk of change, f’sure...


14 posted on 06/18/2012 7:17:42 AM PDT by Eric in the Ozarks
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To: rhema
decline in spelling and grammar

Most newspaper classifieds are filled with abbreviations and have no grammar because each word costs more money. It was the original text messaging language and is painful to read.

15 posted on 06/18/2012 7:20:09 AM PDT by Reeses
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To: rhema

The writer mocks Craigslist’s standard of English (and it is dreadful) but I recall many auto classifieds in years past with ‘RUNS GOOD’ as the hook. Newsprint isn’t a guarantee of Shakespeare-caliber copy.

As with all ivory-tower liberals, the writer either ignores or resents the economic aspect of the Craigslist phenomenon. Nowhere in the piece do the words ‘cost,’ ‘expense,’ or ‘price’ appear. How many thousands, even millions, of times did papers abuse their monopoly by charging exorbitant rates for classifieds? Have they ever considered that the rise of Craigslist was a direct reaction to being gouged?

Admittedly, the writer is relying on anecdotal evidence but he is also ignoring the very empirical evidence of circulation. Readers have abandoned classifieds because they have abandoned the newspaper for ideological reasons.


16 posted on 06/18/2012 7:33:08 AM PDT by relictele
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To: Eric in the Ozarks
Both Twin Cities dailies keep plodding along with weekday print circulation between 130,000 and 240,000.. I usually pick up the SPPP (although I quite often check online to see which paper has at least one conservative op-ed piece before I decide which one I'll buy).

The only news magazine I subscribe to is the Weekly Standard, which has a circulation of roughly 100,000.

17 posted on 06/18/2012 7:36:02 AM PDT by rhema ("Break the conventions; keep the commandments." -- G. K. Chesterton)
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To: rhema

I miss listening to Joe after Rush’s show was over on KSTP.
I catch him on line from timne to time...


18 posted on 06/18/2012 7:40:45 AM PDT by Eric in the Ozarks
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To: rhema

Doctors don’t make housecalls, milkmen no longer make daily home deliveries, but some news accounts that are 16-48 hours old are delivered every morning to the public’s doorstep, sometimes even if they don’t want it.

Newspapers will have “free trial” weeks so they can boost their circulation figures and demand higher ad rates.

The post office wants to drop out of delivering mail 6 days a week (I suggest that they use ALTERNATING days rather than ending Saturday delivery, but that’s another discussion).

The post office wanted to assign everyone an email address and then charge old folks $0.25 an email to print them out and hand deliver them if you didn’t have a computer. Why not? Mostly the post office is delivering paid spam anyway. If they cut out the mailbox stuffing of grocery store coupons, their job would be accomplished in less than half the time.


19 posted on 06/18/2012 7:49:23 AM PDT by a fool in paradise (The media ignored the 40th anniversary of Bill Ayers' Pentagon bombing but not Watergate. Ask Why.)
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To: relictele
The writer mocks Craigslist’s standard of English (and it is dreadful) but I recall many auto classifieds in years past with ‘RUNS GOOD’ as the hook. Newsprint isn’t a guarantee of Shakespeare-caliber copy.

Well, at least the print ads got the verb tense and subject-verb agreement right. Joe's Craigslist example ("run good when last run") showed a seller oblivious to the past tense of the irregular verb.

Newspaper print circulation figures show the NY Times as the only paper whose daily digital circulation exceeds the print circulation.

20 posted on 06/18/2012 7:50:21 AM PDT by rhema ("Break the conventions; keep the commandments." -- G. K. Chesterton)
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To: cripplecreek

“My local paper printed that I had been arraigned for drunk driving nearly 7 yeas after it happened.”


Holy crap! Did you get them to print a correction? Hopefully something that said “we mistakenly said that it was Joseph Cripplecreek isntaid of Joseph Thomas” and not something that rehashes yet again a seven-year-old incident.


21 posted on 06/18/2012 7:50:36 AM PDT by AuH2ORepublican (If a politician won't protect innocent babies, what makes you think that he'll protect your rights?)
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To: cripplecreek
you wonder where this door was hiding for all those years.

I had a 60s Corvette fuel injection unit stored away for 30+ years. Sold it a couple years ago on eBay for $4500. One of these days I may peddle my massive stash of R12 freon LOL.

22 posted on 06/18/2012 8:01:02 AM PDT by nascarnation
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To: rhema

I still laugh when I see someone selling a “Chester Drawer”.

*shakes head*


23 posted on 06/18/2012 8:04:09 AM PDT by RMDupree (I'm not really here.)
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To: Eric in the Ozarks

You are correct. Poor ole Joe is having a mental wet dream wanting to move back to the past:

“Face facts, Joe.
Newspapers are nearly as dead as weekly news magazines.”

None of our younger relatives in their 30-40’s subscribe to a newspaper. The free weekly ad paper goes from their driveway to the recycle can, unopened.

We still subscribe to our local fishwrap due to a reversal of their left wing stances. I never look in the ad section except to find the hard to finish crossword puzzle.

I don’t use Craig’s list as cop friends call it the robbers ATM.

We use the internet to sell/buy sporting goods to similiar people. We go to the internet sites of clubs/activities, we are interested in, and many friends use EBay to buy sell items.

About a decade ago, a younger relative couple wanted to sell their current home to buy a larger home for their larger family. Their Realtor refused to use the internet, she didn’t want to share the commission with other realors. There were no buyers in a hot market.

After 30 days on the market and 4 open house Sundays, I felt the realtor didn’t really want sell their house at the asking price and was waiting to come in with a lower price.

I told the wife to send the Realtor an email and to put their house on the internet. Then give her 8 hours to post the internet info or she would find a new realtor.

She and I worked on the internet to create the internet ad and it was posted after some harsh words in time for the weekend.

The internet open house had more good lookers than the previous 4. Our relative and her husband stayed at the house and monitored the realtor. After the realtor downplayed their home to two lookers, the husband told her to go sit in her car.

They ended up with a bidding war and about $10K over their asking price. One of my relatives sat in on any discussion a potential buyer had.

After the sale of their home was completed, our female relative let everyone in her circles know what happened. The worthless/game playing realtor sold her home on the internet and left the area.


24 posted on 06/18/2012 8:05:18 AM PDT by Grampa Dave (ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION IS DESTROYING AMERICA-LOOK AT WHAT IT DID TO THE WHITE HOUSE!)
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To: nascarnation

Watch out for a hellfire missle from an EPA drone.


25 posted on 06/18/2012 8:05:41 AM PDT by TurboZamboni (Looting the future to bribe the present)
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To: RMDupree

I love perusing Craig’s Listings. One of my all time favorites was a chair that was “genitally used”.

Uhhh, no thank you.


26 posted on 06/18/2012 8:14:13 AM PDT by Shelayne
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To: Grampa Dave

I put an RCA Victor Victrola radio/record player console from the 1940s on Craigslist.
I’ve had four inquiries, all bogus.


27 posted on 06/18/2012 8:17:43 AM PDT by Eric in the Ozarks
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To: nascarnation

“I had a 60s Corvette fuel injection unit stored away for 30+ years. Sold it a couple years ago on eBay for $4500.”

One of our relatives in the midwest sold his beautiful Slant Back Ford Torino, he bought when he got out of the military.

Fish Wrap ads were expensive, and they didn’t want to use Craig’s list. He was a member of some web site or older Fords and Torinos and posted picture of his baby and the price.

Immediately, he had a small bidding war, and a couple on the Gulf Coast bought it. The guy’s dad drove up with a car hauler, paid with a cashier’s check, loaded it on the hauler, secured it and drove away.

The cost to our relative, 0/zero $’s.


28 posted on 06/18/2012 8:17:59 AM PDT by Grampa Dave (ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION IS DESTROYING AMERICA-LOOK AT WHAT IT DID TO THE WHITE HOUSE!)
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To: sam_paine
I think the author was thinking along the lines of something more like this:


29 posted on 06/18/2012 8:18:33 AM PDT by Dr. Sivana ("You forget, it isn't who you claim, but instead, who claims you. We don't claim you!")
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To: rhema

Over the weekend, I ran across a copy of the 1908 Sears & Roebuck catalog. Fascinating to see the difference a hundred years had made in the world of advertising copy.


30 posted on 06/18/2012 8:21:58 AM PDT by workerbee (We're not scared, Maobama -- we're pissed off!)
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To: Eric in the Ozarks

“I put an RCA Victor Victrola radio/record player console from the 1940s on Craigslist. I’ve had four inquiries, all bogus.”

The bogus/scams on Craigs List work both channels, seller and buyer.


31 posted on 06/18/2012 8:22:20 AM PDT by Grampa Dave (ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION IS DESTROYING AMERICA-LOOK AT WHAT IT DID TO THE WHITE HOUSE!)
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To: cripplecreek

Stupid paper....Very rarely do they actually do something worthwhile.


32 posted on 06/18/2012 8:27:19 AM PDT by napscoordinator
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To: a fool in paradise
but some news accounts that are 16-48 hours old are delivered every morning to the public’s doorstep, sometimes even if they don’t want it.

I haven't subscribed to a newspaper in decades but I get 2 to 3 per week. They go under the cat litter box and the newspaper gets to claim increased circulation - it's a win-win.

33 posted on 06/18/2012 8:28:25 AM PDT by RightGeek (FUBO and the donkey you rode in on)
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To: RMDupree

A local wood seller repeatedly listed chords of wood for sale. I always wanted to call and ask if they were in a major or minor key.


34 posted on 06/18/2012 8:29:22 AM PDT by listenhillary (Courts, law enforcement, roads and national defense should be the extent of government)
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To: Shelayne

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! OMG, that DID make me spit my drink!

LOL..."genitally used"...:)

35 posted on 06/18/2012 8:39:47 AM PDT by rlmorel ("The safest road to Hell is the gradual one." Screwtape (C.S. Lewis))
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To: rhema

I used to use “The Want Ad” and classifieds in papers...I BLOODY WELL HATED THEM. They were a pain to use, a pain to pore through, there was NOTHING good about them except that there was no alternative.

And dipstick that longs for the days of the classified ads has a screw loose. Newspapers are dead, Dead, DEAD. They just don’t know it yet.

And, I say, GOOD RIDDANCE.


36 posted on 06/18/2012 8:43:11 AM PDT by rlmorel ("The safest road to Hell is the gradual one." Screwtape (C.S. Lewis))
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To: abb

Democratization of the language. A lexicon is a terrible thing to waste.


37 posted on 06/18/2012 8:49:54 AM PDT by sam_paine (X .................................)
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To: rhema

Must be a slow opinion day.


38 posted on 06/18/2012 8:56:06 AM PDT by VeniVidiVici (Congrats to Ted Kennedy! He's been sober for two years now!!)
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To: VeniVidiVici

Agreed...I am visualizing some doddering old liberal type sitting on a tall editors stool with a threadbare button down sweater and hunched shoulders, his glasses with a piece of string attached to keep from losing them, getting himself all worked up into a lather over this!


39 posted on 06/18/2012 9:19:14 AM PDT by rlmorel ("The safest road to Hell is the gradual one." Screwtape (C.S. Lewis))
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To: rlmorel

lol! Exactly!


40 posted on 06/18/2012 12:12:11 PM PDT by VeniVidiVici (Congrats to Ted Kennedy! He's been sober for two years now!!)
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