The Rittenhouse Review

A Philadelphia Journal of Politics, Finance, Ethics, and Culture

Tuesday, November 23, 2004  

News and Ads: 14 Pages. Marathon Results: 12 Pages.

There's a new daily newspaper, of sorts, in Philadelphia. Launched yesterday, the Evening Bulletin replicates the name of a daily that folded in 1982 after a 134-year stretch.

How long it will take the new incarnation to reach the standards of its namesake remains to be seen. As the Philadelphia Inquirer notes today ("Evening Bulletin Launches, and An Old Name Returns," by Murray Dubin), the first issue was a little lacking in heft: "[T]he new Evening Bulletin was 28 pages yesterday, 12 of them containing results of the Philadelphia Marathon on Sunday."

Mary Lou Doyle, spokeswoman for the Evening Bulletin told the Inquirer, "We're going to have journalistic integrity and be good storytellers," adding that the staff of 25 reporters, photographers, and editors will produce a paper that would be "more conservative" than the old Bulletin, but would not make any "political endorsements."

Chris Brennan offers a few arch comments in today's Philadelphia Daily News ("New Bulletin Debuts With Little Fanfare"):

The paper's front-page motto, Res Ipsa Loquitur, is a Latin phrase meaning "The thing speaks for itself."

That's a common legal term for claiming someone is guilty of negligence if they controlled something that caused an accident.

How that applies to putting out a daily newspaper is not explained in Monday's Bulletin.

And this:

In a story about the paper's launch, editor Kevin Williamson said newspapers are now written by overtrained reporters who no longer live among the readers.

"The reason fewer people read newspapers today is because the quality of American newspapers has declined," said Williamson, a Texan who lives in Ardmore and recently left a job as editor of the weekly Main Line Times.

I have no idea what the real market is for such a publication, but judging from letters to the editor published by the Inquirer and the Philadelphia Daily News, there are plenty of cranky conservatives who feel threatened by the leading dailies, papers one would think, based on their complaints, are Maoist revolutionary rags.

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