Zen and the art of newspaper editing | Bleader

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Zen and the art of newspaper editing

Posted By on 06.28.07 at 01:14 PM

A reader writes: "You may have noticed the recent Sunday Tribune where the first page detailed the alarming increase in motorcycle accidents for riders over 40 and the Tribune Sunday magazine romanticizing motorcycles in a profile on a man who teaches others how to build motorcycles from the ground up. Do the two sections not talk to each other?"

"Lawyers, bankers and auto mechanics have taken the classes," wrote Rick Kogan in the magazine article on June 17. He quoted Robert Pirsig--"A study of the art of motorcycle maintenance is really a miniature study of the art of rationality itself"--and then he quoted the catalog from a Guggenheim exhibit in New York a few years ago: "The motorcycle is an immortal cultural icon that changes with the times. More than speed, it embodies the abstract themes of rebellion, progress, freedom, sex, and danger."

The front-page story by Rick Popely in the same edition said motorcycle fatalities have more than doubled in the past ten years, and "one obvious reason for the spike is that U.S. motorcycle sales more than tripled in the last 10 years, topping 1.1 million last year. That has brought thousands of new riders into the sport and thousands more Baby Boomers back into the saddle, most with little or no training."

To answer the reader’s question, no, they don’t talk much, and why should they? A newspaper like the Sunday Tribune is a big, messy thing, much like the world itself, and the truth hangs in the contradictions.

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