Well damn, 18 years after the first LEO hit the street we’ve finally arrived: Velocity! says we’re “Losers.” As they do every week, the faux weekly purporting to know all there is to know about lifestyle — and whoring yourself out to your advertisers (how many Party Crashers do we have to see about Fourth Street Live?) — is calling us out:
“LEO — The corporate weekly — it’s owned by a company in Pennsylvania, folks — which runs Dave Barry’s year-in-review and syndicated content that seemed edgy a decade ago, picked the wrong week to call Velocity ‘faux’ anything. That was one hard-hitting, alternative cover story on dog training, guys!”
(They’re pissed, evidently, because LEO’s regular feature “Gannett Watch” referred to Velocity and its counterparts as “faux” weeklies.)
Let’s begin with the facts that Velocity’s intrepid reporting team has mishandled. First, the year 2006 was the last time LEO ran anything by Dave Barry. In other words, it’s been roughly 15 months since Barry last appeared in LEO. That, in my news judgment, would suggest that LEO no longer runs Dave Barry and, in fact, has not in some time.
Second, it’s true, LEO is owned by a company in Pennsylvania. That company is called Times Publishing Co., and it also owns one daily newspaper (Erie Times-News) and one other alternative newsweekly (Cleveland Free Times), as well as a couple of commercial holdings. The owners of this company are the Meads — in other words, it’s a family operation. Been that way since 1890. The company owns 3 newspapers. For the sake of comparison, take a look at Gannett’s holdings. That’s the company that owns Velocity, and it’s a large part of why the term “corporate” has such a negative connotation in the journalism trade. Nice try from Velocity, but we’re a bit off from what one could consider “corporate,” although the attempt to attach such an explosive term to LEO is commendable in the context of Velocity’s obvious goal, which is to put us out of business and snatch our market share.
And finally, a more general point: They criticize LEO’s “Year of Dog-Training” story as light. I would suggest that whichever of Velocity’s editors or reporters wrote this particular bit failed to read and follow A) Cary Stemle’s story, or B) the debate going on in this city for at least two years now over the so-called dangerous dog ordinance. LEO, for instance, has covered it heavily. Had the folks at Velocity paid any attention to either of those things I’ve just mentioned, they would’ve understood that the crux of this important local debate is about how to train and control your dog in public areas, and how far dog owners should be expected to go in that realm. This is precisely the reason for Stemle’s story, and it should suggest its relevance.
So thanks, Velocity, for showing us once again that if you’re not trading in sex or hipster credentials (how many times can Jim James appear?), you’re worthless. These are simple facts. Grasping and properly contextualizing simple facts is the job of every journalist. Not surprisingly, you’ve failed. (SG)