The Park may soon become the battleground in a major newspaper war.
That is the opinion of the Centre for the Study of Newspaper Activity in The Park (C-SNAP), a group that monitors changes in Park media policy.
“The Park’s media are gearing up for a significant scuffle, if not an all-out war,” said the Centre’s Executive Director, Noburu Akita, at a policy conference held in conjunction with the publication of the group’s semi-annual SNAPshot report.
The report, which was released at the beginning of January, cited a number of key factors that led the group to conclude that a serious war of the “word worlds” was in the offing.
Among the most significant of these, according to C-SNAP, is a change in editorial policy at a number of Park publications.
“We have seen this demonstrated most notably at The Insect Intelligencer, The Rodent Commoner, The Eagle Star, and at The Mammalian Daily, with the introduction of their undercover reporting,” Akita said.
Each of these newspapers has added investigative reporting to its regular news coverage. The Insect Intelligencer added six investigative journalists to its roster in order to service its now regular “Fly on the Wall” feature, while The Mammalian Daily is planning to use four of its senior journalists on a rotating basis to fill its investigative positions.
The SNAPshot report cited several significant changes at The Mammalian Daily which, it said, could signal the newspaper’s intent to do battle openly against its rivals. In response to recent criticism by the Association of Non-Mammalian Park Newspapers (ANMPN), for instance, The Mammalian Daily released the names and photographs of some of its higher-ranking journalists. Their bylines, however, still do not appear in the paper. The report also noted that The Mammalian Daily has gradually changed its focus by “casting an eye toward the world outside The Park.”
“Considerable space has been devoted, not only to events, but to the opinions and reactions of those who live outside The Park. Some of the stories that have been reported have had the outside world and, specifically, the Human world, as their focus,” the report said.
In addition, the watchDog group says that it has detected a sizeable increase in advertising revenues derived from non-Mammalian businesses and services. This increase, the group feels, may reflect a change in the definition of The Mammalian Daily’s target market.
“We believe that TMD may be directing some of its advertising and content at the non-Mammalian members of The Park, namely the Avian, Amphibian, Reptilian, and Insect population, in order to secure its position as [The Park’s] official newspaper,” Akita said.
Other factors predictive of “war,” according to C-SNAP, are a series of “strategic defections” of key staff members across the medium’s spectrum, and the high number of influential journalists who have “shifted position” in the last few months.
“Position shifting,” Akita explained, is Park media-speak for a change that involves not only employment, but editorial outlook, as well.
“Journalists move from paper to paper and, sometimes, from medium to medium. There is nothing intrinsically significant in that. What is significant in these changes is that reporters moved from a paper with one political outlook to another with a distinctly different political viewpoint. Some even moved to a paper that serviced another species, altogether. This openness to courting from other journals demonstrates that the reporters’ politics and species identification might have taken a backseat to a strong desire for change.”
Akita specifically noted the late December departure of Mammalian Daily star reporter, Anselm Alpaca, who now writes for The Equine Echo, and of the Galliformes Gazette’s Hamilton Snowcock, who was rumoured to have been wooed by a number of publications until he finally came to roost at The Canary Courier.
This article originally appeared in Issue #117 of The Mammalian Daily.