Somewhat recently The (Nashville) Tennessean, my old newspaper and a place I love, hired a new engagement editor. Her name is Beth Inglish, and while I don’t actually get what an “engagement editor” does, I’m sure—knowing Gannett: 2014—the gig involves marketing, readership, subscriptions, firing people and convincing readers their under-staffed, seven-page newspaper is still worth purchasing.
I digress. Inglish was hired, and suddenly The Nashville Scene posted some of her interesting recent Facebook thoughts …
I’m pretty speechless over this one. I actually understand what she means about “working harder to lift the community.” We in the press are, without question, drawn to fires and rapes and kidnappings and Ebola. We think it’s what people want to read—probably because it is what people want to read. Positive news is a lot like a third party candidate: Folks rave about the idea in focus groups, then generally ignore the dude.
I digress. My beef with Inglish isn’t the sentiment—it’s the “now I know why God has put me there.” Yeah, Beth, that’s right: God has brought you to Nashville to fill its failing newspaper with positivity. Literally, God thought to herself this morning, “You know, there are a bunch of kids bleeding from their eyeballs from Ebola, and ISIS is slicing off heads, and flu season has been a bitch … but you know what? Lemme take a moment and send Beth to The Tennessean. We need more good news in that city. Hell, while I’m at it, there’s a clogged sink in apartment 2C over at 1130 Main Street. And Jimmie Smythe didn’t like the grapes in his lunch box at Lakeview Elementary today. I’m gonna get his mom to give some Pop Tarts. Just this once …”
It’s crazy. Like, crazy crazy. We, as a people, are odd. If a guy believes in, say, aliens, he’s a nutjob. I mean that: You meet someone who says he was abducted by Martians, you slowly walk away, then laugh behind his back. But Beth Inglish believes—truly believes—a man in the sky (who reads all our thoughts, simultaneously) brought her to The Tennessean to improve the newspaper’s quality.
And that’s sane?