Thorns & Roses: The Worst, Best & Most Absurd

Insider Louisville, for lo-cal  |  Thorn

Insider Louisville CEO Tom Cottingham sent two scurrilous, embarrassing emails last week begging for handouts. He made false claims about Courier Journal in hopes of puffing up Insider to look like more than a news blog. The first email asks “Is local journalism in Louisville going to die?” and then claims that CJ once was “an institution” but now “it is a mere shadow of its former self.” And then, as if Insider has invented something… “But instead of newspapers, we have the internet. And Louisville is developing a new morning ritual — reading Insider Louisville.” We call bullshit. CJ also has a website, which had 1.8 million unique visitors and 9.3 million total views in February alone, according to a tally by comScore. Insider doesn’t even register on comScore’s report because it doesn’t reach comScore’s minimum reporting standards. Pathetic… Insider has six full-time reporters. CJ has a newsroom of 58, including a new, five-person investigative team. It’s hiring three more for a total of 61. Oh, and CJ was a finalist for a Pulitzer as recently as 2007. Insider denigrates newspapers but runs stories from the Lexington Herald-Leader and other papers. It poo poos a $100 paper subscription (CJ costs $120 a year for digital only), but then it asks for money… $10 a month or $100 a year in donations (on top of the deep pockets of its undisclosed, wealthy benefactors). It concludes that: “We know that the click bait ad model does not serve our readers or our city when it comes to real news.” Look, we at LEO don’t like everything about CJ, including its abandonment of arts coverage, lack of editorial page leadership and booster coverage of every new restaurant and bourbon stain… and, yes, its click-bait, WalletHub stories dilute the paper’s authority. But CJ’s powerful, deep coverage of Louisville and Frankfort remains vital to this city and is unparalleled. Tom, Insider needs to find its own niche, because we don’t need a lo-cal version of CJ. And stop spreading fake news to make IL seem to be more than it is. That makes all of Louisville’s news media and your reporters look bad.

That said, really, CJ?  |  Thorn

A front-page story on where kids hide drugs? And then, you back-pedaled on cheerleading coverage of the Omni Hotel’s Falls City Market (“new market isn’t the grocery Louisville needs — it’s the one it deserves”), saying what LEO said: It ain’t for locals, and the city failed to force Omni to provide a real market.