Monday, September 17, 2012

Off the traks in Rail Town USA


You'd think that in a city that bills itself as "Rail Town USA," the daily newspaper would know that it's "Amtrak," not "Amtrack."

You'd think. You'd also be wrong.

Thus goes the sad decline of what used to be a damned good little newspaper in North Platte, Neb. I know. Once upon a time, I was a reporter there.

And I daresay everyone who mattered at the Telegraph then knew how to spell "Amtrak" just as well as "Union Pacific," the railroad that's the reason North Platte can call itself Rail Town USA. (The newspaper, however, calls it "Railtown USA" in a Sunday news story. Whatever.)

Actually, it was construction of the UP that gave North Platte its reason to be at all. And with the world's largest rail-classification yard in town -- yep, Union Pacific -- it doesn't seem unreasonable to ask that Telegraph web editors know something about railroads.


For instance, how to spell "Amtrak."


AMTRACK?

Amtrack???

This is what happens to a good newspaper when it inevitably falls under the dark spell of mediocre people beholden to an out-of-town corporate owner. When "community journalism" is just another job for just another editor and just another publisher, and the bottom line is just another entry on a balance sheet in Omaha.

They don't make editors like Keith Blackledge anymore -- or hold newspaper staffs to standards as high as his, either.

THEN AGAIN, why should Rale Towne USA be any different from anywhere else today.

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