The Orlando Sentinel, in line with the directive of its cost-cutting owner, Sam Zell, has had major cosmetic changes starting with the Sunday edition. Here is how it was described in the Wall Street Journal:
The Orlando Sentinel landed on newsstands Sunday with a new layout featuring more graphics, quick-read digests of top news, blog summaries and other changes aimed at making the newspaper more appealing to harried readers.
Orlando is a proving ground for Sam Zell's effort to reinvent floundering Tribune Co., owner of a string of television stations and newspapers, including the Sentinel, the Chicago Tribune and the Los Angeles Times. Between now and the end of September, Tribune plans to roll out redesigns at its papers. Accompanying the makeovers will be scaled-back page counts and further paring of employees.
Mr. Zell took control of the company in December after leading an $8.2 billion deal to take Tribune private. The buyout left Tribune saddled with debt amid an industrywide meltdown in newspaper advertising, but Mr. Zell and his new management team of radio and TV executives have promised a revival built on fresh ideas.
Newspaper promotions declared "New look, new stories, new attitude," in the run-up to Sunday's launch. Like other newspaper makeovers, the redesigned Sentinel reflects a new industry reality: to avoid looking dowdy to readers used to the pizzazz and immediacy of the Web, newspapers must be eye-catching and full of alluring and indispensable stories.
Speaking of "new attitude," would that also include snarkiness because that is the attitude I detect from the Orlando Sentinel editor, Charlotte Hall as she announces the new changes in the newspaper. It sounds almost as if she is mocking Zell and his demand for quick read digests:
We've made the Sentinel more vibrant and modern -- as dynamic as Central Florida.
What can you expect from us?
*Powerful local content.
*Aggressive consumer coverage.
*Stories that touch the emotions.
*Fast facts -- told straight.
*Provocative voices -- including yours.
Join the conversation!
Charlotte H. Hall
Apparently that new attitude being touted at the Orlando Sentinel doesn't include healthy skepticism of such sacred liberal beliefs as global warming. At the very top of the opening Orlando Sentinel web page is a global warming link, Florida: Rising Seas. Underneath is an alarmist warning subtitle that sounds like a parody of itself: "Cities under water. Lost habitats. Undrinkable water. A warming Earth." All that was missing was "Overflowing Toilets. Lost Civilizations."
The fun really begins when you click through that link to be subjected to the apocalyptic visions of Sentinel staff writer, Ludmilla Lelis:
You might not recognize the Florida that global warming could create by 2100. And the troubles just start at the coast. Beach erosion and coastal flooding worsen. Wells and rivers turn salty. Habitat for endangered animals could be lost. That's what scientists expect as the heated ocean water expands and glaciers melt, causing the seas to rise, potentially by several feet during the next century...
Beneath this "upbeat" intro are several Paradise Lost sections with such alarmist titles as:
Our coastal cities would be destroyed
Our wildlife would suffer
Our water would be undrinkable
Our rivers would overflow
Our water would be undrinkable
No, I didn't accidentally paste "Our water would be undrinkable" twice. Apparently Ms Lelis had it so much on her mind that she posted that sub-head twice with two diffent reasons why "Our water would be undrinkable."
The most entertaining part from a comedy POV is when you click from the opening page on the interactive link, "Global warming's toll on Florida," which eventually leads you to the Flooding Florida page. There you will experience an incredible sense of power. With just a minor bit of wrist action on your mouse, you can make your online pointer flood vast areas of Florida by merely rolling over sea level increases from 0 to 6 meters. Just the one meter increase with a wrist flick and you've completely flooded out Miami and Fort Lauderdale. At three meters I destroyed Lake Okeechobee since the Atlantic came flooding in. Finally, by increasing the sea level to six meters, I turned Jacksonville into a small island. It gave your humble correspondent such a sense of power! And all because of apocalyptic global warming alarmism via the Orlando Sentinel.
So while the Orlando Sentinel undergoes cosmetic changes, it looks like their liberal ideology remains the same. Perhaps they will introduce another fun interactive page where one can completely melt the polar ice cap and put all of Iceland under water with a flick of the wrist.