Ever since Moses took the helm, the Journal has improved

March 30th, 2017 · 5 Comments · journalism

By Arthur Alpert

Karen Moses ascended from managing editor to become editor-in-chief of the Albuquerque Journal effective Feb. 1 and the newspaper immediately improved.

Here we are entering April and the evidence is clear. Ms. Moses, who I have never met, is a news editor. Her predecessor, Kent Walz, now in a “senior editor” position, was a politician who played editor.

The difference in the daily’s coverage isn’t minimal. It is not just that the front page suggests a newsperson is in charge, but what is missing, what is no longer up front.

Like Walz’s eternal war on Obamacare – conducted in the news columns. It is gone. Moses has run a bunch of Obamacare stories highlighting its virtues and defects.

Under Walz, the Journal simply ignored voting rights stories. (I read the physical newspaper, not the online product.) In the last two months, the daily has published at least two solid accounts of right-wing efforts in other states to deny voting rights to poor people and minorities.

Under Walz, stories favoring fossil fuels often made the paper, sometimes even the front page; favorable stories on alternative sources of energy were rare and never made Page One. That’s no longer the case. Moses’s Journal has front-paged stories on successful solar and wind projects in New Mexico.

Heck, the Journal even published an AP piece (Thursday, March 2, A5) reporting that, “Oklahoma earthquake risk remains elevated” The story never used use the word “fracking” but no matter – the subject was its side effects.

It gets better. Beginning Feb. 1 and continuing through today, Thursday, March 30, 2017, I have seen not a single creative piece of the kind Mr. Walz approved and highlighted and which appeared in defiance of any rational journalistic explanation. Remember the feature about the charm and decency of a family that moved to New Mexico to campaign against abortion rights? I refer to the Jan. 31, 2016 feature that ran on Page One. And led the newspaper. (See my post of March 22, 2016.)

Also, this old newspaper guy detects a resurgence in sidebar stories and pull quotes, two time-honored techniques to improve the experience of reading a newspaper. More, please.

Of course, it is much too early to make big judgments about Moses’ leadership, given the enormity of her job. Headlines remain a big problem; recently a rubric told us that a Gov. Christie bridge scandal crook got four years in prison over a story that said otherwise.

And the paper’s business/economics coverage remains awful. It’s not that they just killed a Saturday page on mutual funds or that Sunday’s replacement for the old WSJ Sunday edition is impossible to read. Nor is it just the never-ending rightist cacophony of Robert Samuelson and the libertarians to the exclusion of middle-of-then-road economics or liberal economics. It’s all of that.

And I haven’t even talked about the opinion pages.

No matter. I set out today to let you know what I have seen. Your comments would be appreciated.

Tags: ··

5 Comments so far ↓

Leave a Comment