I've lived in Chicagoland for about 15 years, and used to enjoy the entire Reader every week. Now I read a few features regularly and throw the rest away. I understand that circulation on the whole is way down, so I know I'm not the only one.
A simple analysis makes it obvious what the problem is--your cover stories have become increasingly obscure and even weird.
Few cases in point: The dyke that writes homoerotic stories about Hobbits ["Saved by Gay Hobbit Erotica," October 7]. Who was the target audience of that one?
A convicted felon who has a bum rap for being a sex offender when he's not ["This Man Is Not a Sexual Predator," October 21]. Wow, riveting. Yet another convicted felon who died, tragically, without consummating his love for a prison worker ["Love Under Lock and Key," December 2]. For like 15 pages. (Are we sensing a pattern?)
There was an article not long ago about some guy (who no one knows) who was a "mystery" and all we ever discovered was that little to nothing was known about him ["What's Gorey's Story?" November 11]. Fascinating. At least Paul Harvey has a "rest of the story."
Now this week we have this article about the state of Illinois spending a whopping $3MM to advocate teenage abstinence ["Get Real," December 9]. I read every paragraph and passed it on to all my friends, neighbors, and colleagues. I mean, three million dollars--on a state budget of, what, $10BB??
Once upon a time we would get feature stories on local history, governmental/local controversies, biographies of truly interesting people, trends, or fads, etc. How does one go about submitting work, because I can do much better than this crap.
Here are some ideas to get you thinking: (1) Are the condos in Trump's tower really selling? What about all the new high-end condos in Streeterville? (2) How a few people in Lake Forest killed the Costco. (3) An article about the gentrification going on beyond Ashland, in Lincoln Square, in Uptown. There are so many more interesting things in this region than a weekly update on the felon class. Thanks.