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Dog 'News' and Other Front-Page Flaws

Saturday, April 18, 2009

I recently signed up for The Post because I was looking for another source of news to supplement my local paper. I eagerly awaited my first delivery last Sunday, but I was puzzled to find a story about the first family's new dog on the front page ["The First Puppy Makes a Big Splash"]. Shouldn't this have been an entertainment story?

Perhaps the story on medical marijuana laws that you put on Page A3 would have been more appropriate. If you felt the need to have President Obama prominently featured on the front page, you could have reconsidered putting on Page A8 a more substantial report, concerning his calls for greater international cooperation after his trip abroad. I was also interested in the story of the sea captain on Page A10 written the day before he was rescued from the pirates.

-- Kelli Massey-Makhoul

Richmond

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What happened to real news? The top two headlines in last Sunday's paper concerned the status of development around Nationals Park and the first family's new dog. The dog story was accompanied by photos with the caption: "Readers can decide for themselves whether the puppy on the left is the same as the official White House puppy on the right." How about: Who cares?

Only three pages were devoted to world news, once the advertisements were factored in. And I won't even go there about how you have shrunk the size of the comics during the week, except to say I need a magnifying glass to read them.

Your paper is becoming a tabloid, and you wonder why you're losing customers. We're all heading to Web sites to get the news now.

-- Lois Lacey

Ijamsville

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I remain amazed at your editorial policy on placing important issues on the front page. The April 7 front page included "news" about how companies are promoting products with simple ingredients ["Simplicity Becomes a Selling Point"]. Stuck on Page B5 in the Metro section was a story that should have been on Page 1: how the Bush Labor Department has deprived a large number -- probably thousands -- of workers of earned overtime wages; the reader was left to wonder whether the department was doing the bidding of the business community or was just lazy or incompetent.

-- David Lloyd

Washington

In recent months I have had the impression that there has been an excess of articles that struck me as "fluff," even as many deserving topics went unaddressed.

I thought this might be a function of my age and changing interests until April 7, when the front page featured an article on the efforts of food marketers while the story about the release of the International Committee of the Red Cross's report alleging torture as a CIA interrogation technique appeared on Page A6. The food story amounted to a plug for Haagen-Dazs.

I am puzzled as to the thinking that led to such judgments. Are you trying to win young readers from the Internet? I suspect that is a lost cause.

I am sad that The Post is no longer the newspaper that I have admired for 44 years.

-- Rosalie Auster

Washington

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