Missing the Old Chicago Reader

Here’s something from the folks at Gapers Block that sums things up quite well for those of us who read the Chicago Reader in times gone past:

I thought it wouldn’t matter, but it turns out that it does.

I figured that I didn’t really “read” The Reader, I mostly just looked at the ads. It was still my preferred place to look at what movies were playing, a way to keep up on shows that I would never go to see, and get decent reviews of restaurants that were worth reading unlike most of the pap from Metromix.

And after “reading” a copy last weekend, I decided that I was wrong: I did *read* The Reader. No quotes necessary, but the past tense is required as there is little left to read.

The columns were good. I liked having original content — stuff I couldn’t find anywhere else, a *voice* I couldn’t find anywhere else in the city — and I actually did read it. The Chicago stuff–the details about the TIFs and the City File and my all time favorite, “We Read Bob Greene So You Don’t Have To”.

The Reader feels like a vehicle for syndicated crap. It’s completely lost its voice.

I know the newspaper industry has changed: it was hard to imagine that the new owners wouldn’t make some cuts. But for this reader, they cut the wrong bits and excised the soul of the paper.

So the informed public finds itself in a weird spot: the established papers don’t have the resources to continue publish a substantial “local” product. (Will the Red Eye break a Blagojevich or Stroger corruption scandal?) The nascent blogerati have not the time or money to take their place. (I don’t think Gapers Block, as much as I love it, will do so either.)

I’ll miss The Reader, especially for the days when it lived up to its name.