Monday, June 27, 2011

Here's a reason newspaper circulation is dropping

It's as simple as looking at a photo gallery today on the (Pascagoula) Mississippi Press website about a wildfire near Gautier, Miss., that eventually jumped U.S. 90.

(I drove through there shortly after the fire had started and before the highway was closed - impressive/scary sight.)

Almost every caption on that gallery is the same:

Two fire departments and the Forestry Commission were fighting a wildfire on Sunday, June 26, 2011, east of Highway 57 and U.S. 90 near the Soccer Complex and Animal Shelter, according to officials in Gautier, Miss.

One photographer appears to have taken the time to have put in different captions for her photos, but the other used the same for everything. Fortunately, having driven through there, I knew what I was looking at in most cases (smoke blanketing U.S. 90 and traffic being turned around.)

The Sun Herald in Biloxi wasn't much better. There was a bit more variety, but most of the photos still had just one caption:

Smoke hangs over U.S. 90 as firefighters work to control a wildfire on Sunday, June 26 2011. The blaze started at Ocean Estates and moved north, jumping U.S. 90 to burn on both sides of the highway.

When you disrespect readers with that kind of laziness, why do you expect them to stay around on your site or with the paper?

(The Biloxi paper also treated us to this sentence: Mississippi Forestry Commission spokesman Randy Wilson said the concern was how the smoke would settle during the night along the Pascagoula River basin. He said they were watching to see how it might effect traffic on the long I-10 bridge over the east and west Pascagoula rivers. That would be "affect," not "effect." And "they" should be "officials" or "commission officials" - there's no first reference for "they" to reflect back on.)

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