Post Critique: Maryann Haggerty

By popular demand, we’ll start publishing each Washington Post internal critique.

Batter-up today: Real Estate Editor Maryann Haggerty discusses Saturday’s paper (and Hank Stuever calls it the “Shih Tzu.”)

“A quick look at our most neglected of days, the Saturday paper, when circulation is at its lowest and editors are all holding out their best in-depth work in hopes it will run on the front of the big Sunday paper…

“I’ve always wondered why circulation doesn’t offer a Saturday/Sunday package. You either have all seven days delivered, or you have Sunday delivered. (We hope, we hope.) If you’re one of those folks who picks up The Post at work, or reads it on line at work, you miss Saturday altogether, even if you get Sunday delivered. But it’s still a weekend day, when you might have time to read a paper over that second cup of coffee in the morning. (And before you start complaining about how Saturday mornings in the suburbs are so mercilessly overscheduled, don’t you wish you had something interesting to read during soccer practice? )”

More when you click below…

By popular demand, we’ll start publishing each Washington Post internal critique.

Batter-up today: Real Estate Editor Maryann Haggerty discusses Saturday’s paper (and Hank Stuever calls it the “Shih Tzu.”)

“A quick look at our most neglected of days, the Saturday paper, when circulation is at its lowest and editors are all holding out their best in-depth work in hopes it will run on the front of the big Sunday paper…

“I’ve always wondered why circulation doesn’t offer a Saturday/Sunday package. You either have all seven days delivered, or you have Sunday delivered. (We hope, we hope.) If you’re one of those folks who picks up The Post at work, or reads it on line at work, you miss Saturday altogether, even if you get Sunday delivered. But it’s still a weekend day, when you might have time to read a paper over that second cup of coffee in the morning. (And before you start complaining about how Saturday mornings in the suburbs are so mercilessly overscheduled, don’t you wish you had something interesting to read during soccer practice? )”

More when you click below…


On this Saturday’s front, we have possible Armageddon continuing to brew in the Middle East and on the front page, and enough time to read all the jumps and sidebars.

The story on the last day of the Wilson Bridge has some great lines. (“Everyone together now: Backups from Barnabas to the bridge.”) Also, the decision to use the obit headline face was fun. Some readers will get it, others won’t. No problem.

The Saturday A1 key box has grown rather tastefully to include keys to the Sunday paper, although there probably aren’t a heck of a lot of people who read the Saturday paper and not the Sunday paper.

One thing missing from A1, and from any other section front, was any warning about what would turn out to be the biggest (non-Armageddon) story of the day and the weekend: The unrelenting, stultifying heat. I didn’t need a whole story, or even a large-scale photo key. (I figure we’ll get plenty of those the rest of this week.) Maybe something small but hot-colored to let me know early that summer had finally snuck into town?

Every weekend, the inside of the Saturday paper contains some of our most interesting stuff. This is true even now, when we no longer have either Ben Forgey’s architecture column or all those great, junkily overcrowded ads from now-bankrupt local furniture stores. But what remains is still more than worth it, including:

Free For All: More readable than just about any blog, because the spirit of civility lives on, and the spelling is a lot better.

Colby King: Our hard-headed crusading conscience is also so much better than just about any blogger–here he actually goes out and does reporting, using his own eyes to observe the distressing physical conditions in D.C. office buildings. Then he uses his own experience to call on others to help address the root causes of the terrible crime wave washing over the city’s teenagers–seven dead this year, and 39 others shot but alive.

Real Estate: Of course I have to recuse myself, which means I can’t comment on Terri Rupar’s dead-on-point main hed on Tomoeh Tse’s solid condo market story (“But This One is Special.”). But at least let me point out that the DC & Maryland editions are mercifully light on promo ads this week, largely because they are 18 pages smaller than the Virginia editions.

Re: July 17 : Haggerty
Posted By: Hank Stuever

Date: 7/17/06 1:27:29 PM EDT

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CONVERT BREAKS: __default__

On this Saturday’s front, we have possible Armageddon continuing to brew in the Middle East and on the front page, and enough time to read all the jumps and sidebars.

The story on the last day of the Wilson Bridge has some great lines. (“Everyone together now: Backups from Barnabas to the bridge.”) Also, the decision to use the obit headline face was fun. Some readers will get it, others won’t. No problem.

The Saturday A1 key box has grown rather tastefully to include keys to the Sunday paper, although there probably aren’t a heck of a lot of people who read the Saturday paper and not the Sunday paper.

One thing missing from A1, and from any other section front, was any warning about what would turn out to be the biggest (non-Armageddon) story of the day and the weekend: The unrelenting, stultifying heat. I didn’t need a whole story, or even a large-scale photo key. (I figure we’ll get plenty of those the rest of this week.) Maybe something small but hot-colored to let me know early that summer had finally snuck into town?

Every weekend, the inside of the Saturday paper contains some of our most interesting stuff. This is true even now, when we no longer have either Ben Forgey’s architecture column or all those great, junkily overcrowded ads from now-bankrupt local furniture stores. But what remains is still more than worth it, including:

Free For All: More readable than just about any blog, because the spirit of civility lives on, and the spelling is a lot better.

Colby King: Our hard-headed crusading conscience is also so much better than just about any blogger–here he actually goes out and does reporting, using his own eyes to observe the distressing physical conditions in D.C. office buildings. Then he uses his own experience to call on others to help address the root causes of the terrible crime wave washing over the city’s teenagers–seven dead this year, and 39 others shot but alive.

Real Estate: Of course I have to recuse myself, which means I can’t comment on Terri Rupar’s dead-on-point main hed on Tomoeh Tse’s solid condo market story (“But This One is Special.”). But at least let me point out that the DC & Maryland editions are mercifully light on promo ads this week, largely because they are 18 pages smaller than the Virginia editions.

Re: July 17 : Haggerty
Posted By: Hank Stuever

Date: 7/17/06 1:27:29 PM EDT

——————————————————————————–

I’ve always loved the Saturday paper, for all the reasons Maryann mentions — Free For All, Colby King, all that Real Estate and Apartment stuff that I read simply as a bystander. I like the car ads, and the furniture ads. Whereas the Sunday paper still feels like a grand production, the Saturday paper has a general feeling that the week finally came together — not only for newsmakers but also the people who write and visualize news. And I always have time to read it. It’s a great, let’s-go-to-that-one-diner-place-for-breakfast-again paper. In spite of the circulation numbers and the dead Internet on weekends, I get better feedback from stories that run on Saturday as opposed to stories that run on Sunday. (Neither compare to the feedback you can get Mon-Fri.) And it is indeed a shame that there’s no such thing as a Saturday/Sunday combo delivery. (Or a Friday/Saturday/Sunday.) I buy a newsstand copy a couple of weekdays, sometimes every day, and also pay $10 a month for the “Electronic Edition,” which is a page-by-page interactive PDF — the perfect solution for people who want to see the layouts and experience the serendipity of paging through a newspaper, but don’t like that recycling stack to take up precious kitchen space.

In my house we call the Saturday edition the “Shih Tzu.” Michael came home one Saturday morning with muffins and coffee and the papers. “Oh, no,” I immediately complained, “You bought the Bulldog.” The look on his face was priceless: You people name the newspapers after dogs? So now he knows — on Saturday, dear, please go get me a paper and make sure it’s a Shih Tzu.