Skip to comments.Joe Soucheray: We lost more than spelling when we lost the classifieds
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."
Face facts, Joe.
newspapers are nearly as dead as weekly news magazines.
The mayor is right of course.
The dead tree media is (thankfully) as dead as the trees. Now if we can just get them to stop making noise.
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”.
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.
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.
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!
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.)
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.
Don’t forget the green-skinned alien chick.
And remember how it was when only the “right people” had control of the airwaves and printing presses...
That’s a chunk of change, f’sure...
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.
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.
The only news magazine I subscribe to is the Weekly Standard, which has a circulation of roughly 100,000.
I miss listening to Joe after Rush’s show was over on KSTP.
I catch him on line from timne to time...
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.
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.