Watchdog Blog

Gilbert Cranberg: Newspaper Publishers, This Is Not a Good Idea

Posted at 11:16 am, August 1st, 2009
Gilbert Cranberg Mug

Dear Valued Customer:

Thank you for your submission to SWELL!!, our new reader-financed feature for letters, op-ed material and miscellaneous commentary. Your work will appear as soon as your credit-card payment is posted on our books.

Remember, once you submit and pay for 10 items you will be issued, for a small fee to cover printing, postage and handling, a genuine Press Card identifying you as a contributing editor of SWELL!!

Rest assured that none of the material you submit will be edited. Unlike others in our Industry, we believe that how you spell, punctuate or otherwise express yourself is your business. Freedom of expression means the freedom to assert yourself in your own individual way. Our staff of skilled copy editors stand ready, for a reasonable fee, to assist, but that is strictly optional. We guarantee that we will not tamper with your material without your express approval.

Nor will we require that you identify yourself. For too long the nameless in our Society have been voiceless. We part company with those in our Industry who have closed their doors to individuals simply because they decline to disclose their names, addresses or phone numbers. Too many valuable contributions have been lost to the marketplace of ideas by such restrictions. We intend to broaden the base of contrbutors by not only welcoming anonymity but by encouraging it. Our presses will print virtually whatever you offer us — whether it be commentary about scripture, poetry, eulogies, toasts, retirement remarks, or Bat and Bar Mitzvah speeches, to mention a few for illustrative purposes. We will also publish, in hard cover, a Young Minds Collection of memorable thoughts by youth that we anticipate will be prized by parents and grandparents.

You may have heard reference to a couple of recent parodies of our efforts, SWILL!! and DRIVEL!! Be assured that we have many more imitators than detractors. In fact, academics have cited SWELL!! as the sort of raw, they call it unmediated, work that can rescue journalism in the Twenty-first century; some have lauded it as the New New Journalism.

So keep your contributions coming, and remember SWELL!! for all of your op-ed needs.

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