It doesn’t take long to get an indication of the quality of Link (online version here), the new tabloid entertainment supplement from the Argus. The first three pages are nothing but advertisements.
The Beckster gives it front page billing as the product of “months of work” intended to give readers “the most relevant and sophisticated newspaper possible.” So what did Link add to the traditional wire service film and CD reviews and throw-off compilations on local music, art and theater? The first “news copy” is a half page of “News of the Weird.” The last is a summary of headlines in this week’s tabloids (National Enquirer, Weekly World News, et al.). Evidently, the Argus doesn’t have a very high opinion of local cultural relevance and sophistication.
Sure, there?s some local effort. The cover story is a two-page spread by Bob Morast on local dance clubs. About the only other thing we haven?t seen before is a two-column local Q&A (sandwiched, of course, amidst eight columns of ads). Today’s was with a 24-year-old German man spending the semester at Augustana. Now nothing against foreign exchange students, but wouldn?t you think a “new” arts and entertainment supplement might just want to kick off the Q&As with a local musician, artist, writer, actor or someone with even a remote connection with the local arts/entertainment community?
No, Link does not appeared aimed at providing more or better coverage of music, movies, arts and/or entertainment. It’s just another way to sell ads.
One bit of praise is in order, though. Morast?’s column, which graces the two columns next to the table of contents, takes the Sioux Falls Film Society to task for abandoning its mission. As a former member of that organization?s board of directors, I fully agree. Independent and innovative film in this town has suffered a meaningless and avoidable death because the SFFS abandoned its stated mission of “broaden[ing] an appreciation for films outside the mainstream of contemporary commercial cinema.” Instead, it became a Save the State fraternity. My role in that turn of events remains a deep regret.