I love The Montclair Times. Really. Getting a home delivery subscription was one of the first things I did once we moved in. I’ve had my issues with some of the choices, but it’s a pretty amazing weekly paper. The reporters write well, there are few horrid gaffes, they try new things (I think the Say What? column is a fantastic addition.). And while it occasionally dips into silliness (Do we really need to keep needling the Christopher Court owners?), it covers our kooky town politics and sports and culture events incredibly well.
Last week, however, marked a bizarre low. A “Letter to the Editor” addressed it beautifully; I wish I’d written it. The brief title of the article in question was Hell to Pay, but the longer headline was: Montclair residents and clergy weigh in on afterlife of bin Laden in light of recent poll (capitalization from the on-line edition). It seems like the piece began in response to the poll mentioned in the headline, but the connection to Montclair could certainly have been made more personal by interviewing residents about their beliefs in comparison to the poll – without mentioning bin Laden. Wouldn’t it have been more relevant to Montclair to wonder if someone locally nefarious would end up in hell? Sadly, it seems that our hometown paper needs to sensationalize subjects (even those under the “community/religion” section) to attract readers.
Perhaps more subscriptions would help them avoid this kind of attempt at more attention? Please, if you don’t have a subscription, get one!
I think I agree with my husband who said it looked like the entire reason they did this “Is He in Hell?” piece was to find an excuse to layout a photo of bin Laden next to a photo of Mayor Jerry Fried in the print edition. And that, in my kind of humble opinion, is true silliness.