In case you missed it: The New York Times recently answered questions about its home and garden coverage. One alert reader, quite possibly a Friend of Rant, wrote in and asked:
Why do you call it Home and Garden when you have fewer and fewer articles on gardening and plants?
Well. Yes. It does touch a nerve, doesn’t it? Wouldn’t we all like to see a Home and Garden section that covered more gardens than homes? That prompted disgruntled letters from readers wanting to know why they were always going on about gardening when there were homes to be written about, too? Wouldn’t it be something if a newspaper named its section Garden & Home?
But we all know that home and garden sections tend to be heavier on the homes than the gardens. And it makes me wonder: why put them in the same section at all? Just because homes and gardens are located next to each other doesn’t mean they have to share space in the newspaper, does it? You don’t see Home & Auto sections, even though cars are often parked next to homes, do you?
What about Cooking & Gardening? Could that work as a section? Lots of food-oriented gardening, with enough ornamental gardening thrown in to keep everyone happy? And enough restaurant coverage to satisfy the non-cooks?
Huh. That might be weird. Or what about: GREEN. That’s the name of the section. I know, it’s a buzzword and maybe it’s overused. But a GREEN section could include gardening alongside coverage of conservation, restoration, outdoor activities like hiking, and other environmental news. We’d talk about gardening as part of a larger conversation about the planet. OR–what about calling it OUTSIDE?
That could be cool.
Meanwhile, the Times defends its garden coverage, saying:
So sorry to hear that it seems as if we are doing less on gardening. But from our point of view, that is not the case….Anne Raver writes three times a month in the spring summer and fall, and twice a month in the winter… Stephen Orr answers questions from readers in the Garden Q and A…In addition, we run feature articles on gardens….
You get the idea. But really, from a purely structural standpoint, don’t you think that the very nature of a home & garden section is that "gardening" ends up being the dessert, while "home" is the main course?
Discuss amongst yourselves.Posted by Amy Stewart on November 24, 2008 at 5:07 am, in the category Everybody's a Critic.