Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Blog this, Times Union

The blog-happy Times Union has done it again. With the number of blogs posted on their Web site continuing to proliferate at an alarming rate, the newspaper’s editors have charged their Saratoga Bureau to create an online posting site for reporters to chronicle racing season. Problem is, they really have nothing to say about racing season so far, namely because it hasn’t started. Or at least in their eyes.

Truth is, the so-called season started weeks ago; ask any resident navigating the city’s choking traffic and they’ll tell you so. And the tone of Saratoga Seen has already been set as a place for the reporters to dump useless press releases or discuss the most recent bar they happened to have a cocktail at; in two words, it’s boring. In a whole sentence, get the coffee and nodoez if you want to get through this drivel, because the term “uninspired writing” is a massive understatement for this account of the Spa City.

Regardless of the prissy image that most business folk and debutants like to forge for Saratoga Springs, there’s a lot of color and life throughout the city that doesn’t involve racetracks, fine dining and nights at the ballet. Indeed, there are stories out there to tell that don’t conform to this image and therefore never get told.

Perhaps this is something that these recalcitrant writers can put in their pipe and smoke before their blog becomes an ancillary afterthought to the adrenaline-pumping race season as it barrels through the city without respite.

Ditch the polish and roll up the sleeves. Talk to the people in the corners, not the cocky fools at galas reveling in their own finery. Give the city the real image it deserves, for better or for worse. And for the sake of good writing, don’t dump trite, emotionless press releases into a file called “Saratoga Seen” as if anyone of your writers has actually witnessed what goes on here once the camera lights are dimmed.

To do this takes effort; it takes a working knowledge of not just the city’s plutocrats, but of the plebeians as well. This takes an unwavering love for all this city has to offer, whether it’s the obnoxious tourists barging carelessly down Broadway or the coke fiend looking for a score before they go to work serving that rude bastard an evening meal.

There’s an air that’s blowing into the city now that will linger for the next eight weeks, then vanish with the autumn wind. And when that time comes and the plug is finally pulled on the Time Union’s watered-down blog, there will undoubtedly be stories left to tell.

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