The Single Most Important News Event Of The Weekend -- The Chronicle's New Society Writers
You might be forgiven for thinking it was a big deal that Annise Parker won the mayor's race this weekend.
That little episode was as nothing, in terms of loving column inches devoted to it, as the Houston Chronicle's announcement of its new team that will be covering Houston society ("such as it is," we always feel we must add.)
How important was this? Let's count the ways.
1. A huge chunk of the front page was devoted to it.
Only an enduring sense of modesty kept the Chron from putting this exclusive above the fold, we assume. Splattered across much of the below-the-fold real estate was a huge picture of the two new stars, Douglas Britt and Lindsey Love, posing back-to-back like some bad `80s sitcom.
2. Pictures the size of murals accompanied the actual story.
Giant photographs showed the two in a limo and (for some reason) walking a red carpet. By comparison, photos of Parker were mere mugshots. To be honest, we wondered why you'd have any photos at all of your new "society" writers, beyond what's attached to their column. But evidently this is So Important that it takes acre-sized pictures. Or maybe they just couldn't gifure out how to wring enough copy to fill the gigantic hole devoted to the news, and slapped in some photos.
3. We got an inane "Ten Questions" listicle for each of the two.
Surely you woke up Sunday dying to know what Lindsey Love's last vacation was, didn't you? ("On a sailboat to the Greek Islands with my mother last October"). Or Douglass Britt's "fave meal"? ("Anything but my world-famous tuna surprise. At this point, the only surprise is that I can keep it down").
4. Self-serving and silly quote from the editor? Check.
"Lindsey and Douglas bring a new and nimble perspective to the Chronicle's coverage of parties and interesting people in Houston," editor Jeff Cohen was quoted as saying. "Whether it's in our very popular Star section or on chron.com, they'll provide readers with a glimpse into a world many don't often see."
5. Things not mentioned:
Bye-bye to Britt's interesting takes on the local art scene (Hey, he was willing to take on untouchable hipsters The Art Guys), and that Love is not anyone who's done much of what they used to call "reporting." (Although when she does, she appears to be an expert at getting friends to leave fawning comments; check some out here.)
We just can't wait to read the "new and nimble" coverage, which we'll sure will absolutely not be the same old congratulatory, worshipful crap about rich egomaniacs hiring people to throw themselves charity balls.
Update: Chron feature boss Kyrie O'Connor tells us that Britt will still be doing visual-arts criticism and coverage. To which we said it sounds like expecting Eric Berger to do weather/global warming/science discoveries/full-time hurricane whenever one's in the Gulf AND NASA, but O'Connor insists it's doable. So there's that. (She also defends the amount of ink spent Sunday as a "fun," non-typical-newspaper way of making the announcement. So there's that, too.)
Also, we got Love's first name wrong on first reference, and have changed it; we apologize.