While taking a moment after wrapping up my sordid media duties in Washington, I just wanted, as an expatriate from your fine city, to drop you a brief note regarding your newspaper. In the past, an old Cleveland friend has sent an occasional issue of the Scene so I might keep in touch with happenings in the city, as I do not get back there as often as I would like. Despite the charms of this region, I do enjoy my rare forays back to the shores of Lake Erie, and they shall increase now that I understand that POC beer is once again available.
I just received your last two issues and was pleased to see that you are apparently taking a new direction, especially with hard news coverage. The story on Mary Rose Oakar was especially good ["Shadow of a Doubt," April 8]. Having been long familiar with The Plain Dealer (its motto really ought to be "One of Ohio's Newspapers--Sort Of"), I was pleased that she finally won, despite the length of the ordeal. She was right. They were wrong. Period. Also, the illustrations that accompanied the story were excellent! Good work.
"The Edge" column seems to be taking on, well, an edge. City Paper in Washington once had a similar column called "Loose Lips" that grew to be a powerful institution here. "The Edge," done right, will do you nothing but good.
Do you have any plans to beef up sports coverage? Great city for it, I know. And please know, my Buckeye Brethren, that although I am a resident of Maryland, Art Modell sucks, his team sucks, the stadium that my tax dollars got sucked into sucks, and the whole operation redefines the term "suck." It just can't suck enough. Go Tribe! Go Browns!
J. Charles Fetters
Don't Leave Old Readers Behind
I'm with you on the expanded coverage; I think that Scene is off to a good start challenging Mayor White, City Council, and The Plain Dealer. We need as many media outlets as possible keeping this absurd administration on its toes. (We all know The Plain Dealer isn't doing it.) I'd like to see more of this coverage, and I think the writing is excellent, as well.
But I still can't understand why your music coverage is lacking. Even with the added elements to the paper, Scene started off as a music publication, and now your competition is upstaging you in the music department. I like what's running, but there just isn't enough of it. I just think that it's sad that you weren't able to keep more of what worked and still be able to add features. Overall, I think you are going in the right direction, but don't forget about the people who have been with you since the beginning.
I have been reading your news coverage, and the changes you've made to your paper and your website are great. Your stories on The Plain Dealer settlement with Mary Rose Oakar and the limo drivers' fight with city hall ["Bad Trip," April 1] were both interesting.
Your website allows me to access Scene wherever I am, and I enjoy the diverse amount of information I receive. Your expanded news coverage and information regarding current events makes your publication a must-read. Keep up the good work.
Guns and Jesus
What's all the commotion with "Jesus of the Week"? Lighten up, people--it's a joke! If you don't like it, don't read it. And regarding Bill Gibb's review of Humanary Stew: A Tribute to Alice Cooper [Playback, April 1], it's not strange to have Steve Jones, Duff McKagan, and Matt Sorum teaming up for a track on the CD after they've already done an album together--Neurotic Outsiders.
Tone It Down for the Kids
Your publication is free, so I know that you need advertisements to survive. However, I find it hard to believe that the tasteless, disgusting, and lewd advertisements in the back of your newspaper are really necessary.
Children have access to your publication, and your editors/owners should remember that many readers have children and do not want them exposed to these ads. I'm not saying that they don't have a right to be in the paper. Certainly they do. But is it really necessary to have them be so explicit?
It's not only children that I worry about. Many of your adult readers find these ads offensive, as well. I don't have a problem with people using adult services. I'm not a Puritan; I know that these things go on. All that I ask is that they're not right there in my face. I know I don't have to look at the ads, but kids will. So just tone it down, that's all you really need to do.
No Longer Satisfied
One thing I don't understand about your publication is the constant reproductions of a certain competitive entertainment weekly in the city. It started with the size and layout of the paper, including the addition of the city name on the cover. Next we have your music awards showcase, which that paper did months ago. And last but not least, your editorial content has dramatically changed. I know you have professed yourself as a music paper in the past, and I feel that these changes are going to affect your music credibility. I know it sounds like I have too much time on my hands to point out these similarities; I just feel I should express my disappointment that a paper I have picked up for years no longer satisfies my need for the Cleveland entertainment scene.