Belo-ologists have the Saturday edition of Dallas’ Only Daily Newspaper. That’s when some of the most interesting and significant stories appear, apparently because so few people read the Saturday paper. Excellent work about corrupt cops on Lower Greenville has been exiled to the Saturday paper, for instance. (Which I would link to, but which seem to have disappeared.)
On Saturday, the bosses can float trial balloons, do favors for advertisers and politicians, and stick in news that they don’t necessarily want people to see, but will still be able to say ran.
Take Dec. 22, for example:
• The garage sale permit story, which appeared on the front of the Metro section. That seems like pretty big news, warranting the front page of the paper during the week. So why Saturday? I’m not sure, although it might be a favor for the councilwoman who proposed it, Elba Garcia. Did merchants in her district complain about these massive sales, so she told the paper she would author an ordinance? The story is vague about if and when permitting would ever be required.
• The Highway 161 toll road story, which appeared on page 2 of the front section. The surest way to stick a story in a paper so no one will read is to put on page 2A. In this story, we learned that local transportation authorities want to toll part of LBJ and that 161, in Grand Prairie, is the region’s next big toll road (and not the Trinity, oddly enough). This story, if you read between the lines, shows just how screwed up the highway building system is in Texas — something The News has demonstrated it doesn’t want to discuss.
• The office leasing slump story on the front of the business section. And, just to make sure the bad news is hidden, the story waits until the fifth paragraph to note that 2007 was the worst year since 2004. In the business, that’s called burying the lede, and you’re not supposed to do it. But the last thing the The News wants to do, especially with its push to rehabilitate downtown, is to put a damper on all the good news it carries in the rest of the paper.