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Of Hometown Newspapers and Clouded Crystal Balls

January 14, 2008

In a recent obituary a New York Times writer described The Journal News as “Croton’s hometown newspaper.” Crotonblog would beg to differ. Croton’s hometown newspaper is The Gazette. The Journal News, with its broad-brush coverage, can hardly be described as any Westchester community’s hometown newspaper, any more than USA Today, another Gannett newspaper, could be described as New York City’s hometown newspaper.

In last Friday’s tabloid section of The Journal News called “The Line,” a writer named Ted Mann ventured his predictions of the winners in the upcoming Golden Glove awards. Mr. Mann also writes for a Gawker-style Lohud namedropping blog called Suburbarazzi. It’s a smart-ass virtual rag with a low readership, probably because it is so hard to find among Lohud’s bewildering array of blogs and Internet features.

Thanks to the writers’ strike, a low-key version of an awards ceremony was held in Hollywood last night. Crotonblog was curious to see just how prescient was Mr. Mann when we read the names of winners of Golden Globes this morning. We regret to report that his crystal ball is extremely cloudy and needs a good cleaning with Windex.

Mr. Mann is not a regular film critic for The Journal News, and it shows. Of the twenty-five categories in which Mr. Mann picked winners, he got only eight—or 32 percent—right, and a whopping 68 percent wrong. We cannot avoid the feeling that Mr. Mann would have done better if he had merely closed his eyes and stuck a pin at random in the names of the nominees.

In addition to his wayward choice of winners, Mr. Mann tried to cover his backside by listing in each category the names or titles he felt “should win.” His picks in these were even farther off the mark. Only one of these “should wins” landed on the same spot as a winner last night. One explanation for his dismal record as a prognosticator may lie in his tendency to favor performers who live in The Journal News circulation area.

Crotonblog thinks its nice that so many talented people live among us as neighbors.’ But we doubt that residence should give them extra points and an edge in predictions when awards are being handed out. If Mr. Mann extends his talents to politics, this habit would undoubtedly cause him to choose the one candidate who is a Chappaqua resident.

Better luck next time, Mr. Mann—if there is a next time. And if you are going to try your hand with the Oscars, Crotonblog will be happy to lend you a nice long hatpin that used to belong to our Grandma. It ‘s been very good at picking winners.


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