Thursday, January 09, 2020
KANSAS CITY DEAD-TREE JOURNALISM STAYS LOSING: THE PITCH ABANDONS NEWS COVERAGE AND HIRES STAND-UP COMEDIAN AS NEW EDITOR-IN-CHIEF!!!
The Pitch is no longer interested in Kansas City news.
For a couple of years they've manged to publish a few decent stories that might have been slanted but still offered an important perspective about news and politics in Kansas City.
Now, for the most part, the new hipster owners are far more focused on night life, foodie reporting and the same kind of garbage content that any Instagram page could easily mimic.
The freelancers didn't help. So many old school newsies like Barb Shelly fed the magazine Democratic National Committee talking point pieces that simply didn't generate buzz. Other, younger writers played it safe and seemed far too "woke" to really push boundaries and hit readers with ALTERNATIVE LOCAL IDEAS that are usually discounted and ignored amid the slop of social media missives. Most of The Pitch staff is also freelancing at KCUR and they seem to understand that 50 bucks for an occasional assignment won't really benefit them very far into the future.
Election coverage form The Pitch was inconsequential and as Prez Trump has ignited a firestorm of local debate and activism . . . The stories in the monthly mag haven't reflected the reality of urban divisions and metro political life that has been bolstered by activism in response to the MAGA era.
Accordingly . . .
David Hudnall, an exceptional journalist who guided The Pitch through a year of transition doing MORE WITH LESS, still lists himself as the Editor-In-Chief on Twitter.
BUT this tweet offers a contradiction . . .
@brockwilbur: "Some Personal News: I have accepted an offer to become the new editor-in-chief of Kansas City's alt magazine The Pitch. The publication is celebrating its 40th anniversary of being a cultural cornerstone in the Midwest. I'm looking forward to making it weirder than ever before."
Mr. Wilber's online résumé:
"I’m Brock Wilbur. I was raised in a small Kansas town, I went to college at Northwestern in Chicago, did ten years in LA and now bounce between there and Kansas City. I write books, video games, and movies for a living and I perform standup comedy because I have a lot of ideas that feel better when they are shouted. I didn’t fully believe I was a journalist until I helped expose the NXIVM cult to the world. I also do some acting and music and tap dancing (when no one is looking) but you probably didn’t come here for the tap dancing. I run shows for Crooked Media and I write books about things that break my heart."
DON'T HATE ON THE GUY!!! HE SEEMS COOL AND HIS HIRE MERELY REFLECTS THE MISPLACED PRIORITIES OF THE NEW MANAGEMENT!!!
His writing is mostly comprised of bylines for those junk news sites mostly composed of embedded tweets. There's NOTHING wrong with that. He's a really funny standup and seems exceptionally versatile for somebody who stands at 6'7. But he's not a the kind of journalist that a magazine with a 40 years of local history would typically hire.
And so . . .
The Pitch continues in name only.
The future of the "magazine" seems more like a hipster shopper and we notice several copies sitting on newstands without much interest.
Real talk: With all of the washed up newsies slumming around this blog, the library and KC Public TV; it's odd that they didn't go with somebody who had more experience and more local connections.
Apropos for #TBT, The Pitch of old offered a street level guide to Kansas City and a counter-culture focal point.
The new owners have simply turned the publication into their private party and collection of funny friends with little impact on local policy or the discourse.
Developing . . .