Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Kingston Whig failing in marketing and in journalism

Marketing 101...
Just received a phone call from MacInnis Marketing of Halifax, attempting to sell me a "special" subscription to the Kingston Whig Standard.
Nothing news worthy about such a call, except:
they were unaware that I had previously subscribed, and had cancelled because of the pitiful coverage of Kingston's City Hall, its issues, its politicians and its editorials.
Living in Kingston, one quickly learns that only "old stones" have any significance or meaning, unless one happens to be a university professor, a Queen's graduate, or a well-to-do corporate giant, or just perhaps a military 'brass'. This is a town that status and insiders and seniority have built, and if it were rated on its receptivity to new people, ideas and possibilities, it would not receive a passing grade. The retiring mayor, has, somehow, forged enough votes for new arenas, pools and some infrastructure, with barely a ripple noticeable in a change in attitudes.
The coverage of city hall, legitimately dubbed coverage by the wannabe's of the "old stones" leaves the newcomers wondering...
is this another case of the "old boys" covering the "old boys" like a private club?
*who is in (political) bed with whom,
*why in council meetings there is so much attention to procedure and so little focus on the merits of the issues under consideration,
*why there is so much community "talk" about conflict of interest, without proof of its reality or fiction
*why there is such apathy about municipal issues, except, of course, the size of the next tax increase
*why the personalities of the councillors and the mayor do not constitue some of the coverage
*why there is not a municipal "desk" that is eager and intense about its pursuit of real news, and not just a re-editing of the latest press release,
*why the city of Kingston isn't being held acountable for more than its active PR campaign to be the "green" city of Canada, when every year it pours hundreds of thousands of gallons of raw sewage into the St.Lawrence River because of sewer back-ups.
Marketers, when they make phone calls, from out of province, for a national chain of newspapers, and are not familiar with the "account" and the reasons for its termination, (and inform the recipient of the call, "Oh, we do take comments!" after I suggested that I thought Marketing was a two-way street and after she protested two or three times that "we are only marketing the special offer",) do not engender interest in the publication by which they have been hired.
Now I have confidence neither in the marketing company nor in the newspaper itself.
Is this a typical Canadian newspaper's new way of operating?

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