We’ve almost made it through February. Normally, I don’t mind the month that starts with the same first letter as forlorn, but this year, the weather and news combinations have made the month seem dreary. It’s as if spring was getting pushed farther away rather than getting closer. By this time next week, we’ll be in March, and, likely, still cold and wondering if spring will arrive.
Here are some odds and ends as we wait for sunnier times.
Star Magazine in the Sunday edition of The Kansas City Star was a haven for the best writing and photographs about our fair metro area.
I am greatly saddened by the news that the magazine is being killed as the The Star’s print product and news production staff continues to shrink. The Star announced the move this past Sunday with a final edition of Star Magazine.
This is not just about how news and entertainment are delivered.
What’s been at stake is quality and credibility. The splintering of media into many digital, broadcast, web and print forms has knocked profitability for the old-line and large media outlets. Those are the outlets that had the resources to let writers and photographers and videographers develop high-quality stories.
Maybe eventually the web or digital links of some sorts will restore some quality, but I’m not optimistic.
We revered Star Magazine during my quarter century as a reporter at The Star. Stories in the magazine got extra polish by writers and editors. We were allowed to be more creative and feature story-oriented in our approach, different than the straight ahead news approach.
Any reporter’s words can be whipped into shape by an editor into readable news, but you had to be a good writer to claim a Star Magazine credit.
The magazine also had a focus on the fun stories about people and Kansas City. It was a haven from the troubling things appearing in the news.
In recent years, as an outside observer, I’ve enjoyed the historical photo spreads and the personal feature writing in the magazine. A recent article on a World War I pilot from Kansas City whose name was on the now-closed Richards-Gebaur Memorial Airport was excellent.
Writers having fun with a story translates to readers enjoying themselves and a whole community better understanding its roots.
Managers at The Star are to be congratulated though for keeping the magazine going for as long as they did. Most major newspapers closed their versions years ago and stuck the boring, non-descript Parade Magazine in the Sunday paper.
Innovation and a local focus kept Star Magazine going until the watering down of all media in these digital times washed it away.
Speaking of weather, 7 feet of snow in Boston doesn’t bother me at all. That’s the way weather news is.
In 1993, we had an epic flood in the Missouri and Mississippi river valleys, and the rest of the country yawned. In 2011, the flood levels were even higher in Platte County north of Weston and along the river upstream into the Great Plains states. Those flooded in Kansas City in 1993 barely noticed because the water didn’t rise over their levees in 2011.
Weather is only a misery for those in its way. Everyone elsewhere yawns.
Old golf courses and country clubs that close tend to become subdivisions.
That may be one reason why some are opposed to the idea of selling or privatizing the operation of Shiloh Springs Golf Course, which is now part of the Platte County Parks and Recreation system. Current proposals would call for it remaining a golf course.
But you wonder about a few decades down the line.
The Royals spring training has begun. It’s been a long, long time since I felt so casually optimistic about a baseball season, and that must mean we are getting closer to spring.
Let the grilling begin.
Bill Graham, who lives in the Platte City area with his family, may be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.