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This site was mentioned in the Fargo Forum Technology section this morning. I even went back and re-read the article, struggling to find some rhyme or reason to what Ms. B∴ wrote, but found none. The article didn't get any point across. It was a list of the various websites created by local users, but it never told me the point -- why was this article written? the first few paragraphs explain what lead up to it's creation, but nothing to explain the point of why it filled up 3/4 of the front page, in full color, of the Technology section.

This reaffirms that the Fargo Forum can't produce a coherent article if it's life depended on it. Several months ago, my complaint was that the Forum ripped articles off the Wire rather than promoting locally-related articles. For instance, one of the earliest Technology section articles was on computer-printed cake frosting, allowing customers to put photos on their cakes. Around a year before, the Forum had done a similar article on computerized frosting at local businesses. The one filling the front page of the Technology section was taken from some far-off large city, ignoring the local businesses (read: advertisers) who also do computerized cake decoration. The article even included a large full-color photo of some far-off entrepeneur. Were I running a computerized cake-decoration service in Fargo, I definitely would feel slighted by the lack of effort on the part of the Forum.

Nearly every other Technology section article has been taken from another publication. There has been the attempt to redeem the Forum, by composing a locally-written sidebar related to the wire article. I've often noticed, in other articles the information is credited to both a Forum writer, and also Wire news reports. How much is taken from each source? If it's not a national story, The Fargo Forum should not need to rely on national writers when there are stories right here. A quick search of the various news wires (including Itar-Tass) dredged up no reference to my website - the Forum takes from the wire services, but does not contribute? There is probably a reason that well-written stories are easier to get off the wires than from local talent.

Writers don't come cheap. Considering the price that the Forum charges daily, compared to national papers like the Wall Street Journal or USA Today and also considering the advertising revenue, a reader should be able to assume that articles have some coherency to them. Despite my dislike for the High Plains Reader, they at least recognize the talent of local writers. Articles are always well written and demonstrate the hand of a talented editor. The volunteer writers composing articles for HPR recognize the importance of the start, middle, and end of a written document, and the importance of a purpose. I learned these things in the 8th grade. Being paid to write with an 8th grade quality of workmanship should not be difficult; the ex gratis authors of the HPR do it well.

Stepping from the quality of a free weekly publication to a for-profit regional daily, there should a be a marked improvement between the genres. Unfortunately, I will remain subscribed to Infobeat for my news needs, and will flip through the Forum, for free, during my coffee break. I have nothing to gain from reading the Fargo Forum; they haven't given me any reason to. Maybe they're just having trouble getting their point across.

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