The city of Spokane is going through the charade of hiring an ombudsman who will pretend to keep an eye on the cops.
Fortunately for you readers, The Spokesman- Review is already blessed with a self-important overseer.
And it’s time once again for The Omdougsman to address your newspaper concerns without being encumbered by upper-managerial topspin.
Q: Hey, The Spokesman- Review I received on Monday looks really different – what gives?
The Omdougsman: You must mean the front-page story from the editor. It’s about time we got some bylines out of that guy.
Q: No. I mean that my newspaper is skinnier than an Olsen twin with rickets.
The Omdougsman: Oh, yeah. That too.
Q: So what’s the deal?
The Omdougsman: Adopting the “Slim Jim” format not only saves wood pulp, but makes your newspaper even easier to roll up when you want to swat your dog or kill a bug.
Q: Are any other publications doing this?
The Omdougsman: My, yes. The Watchtower, Zig-Zag rolling papers, the Bazooka Joe bubblegum comic, Idaho’s road map …
Q: You can’t fool us. This is about saving money, isn’t it?
The Omdougsman: You got me. But give us a break. The newspaper industry is in more trouble than Jon and Kate’s marriage. We have to do something to keep the presses rolling and our executives in expensive suits.
Q: But didn’t Washington Gov. Chris Gregoire just approve a 40 percent tax break for the state’s ailing newspapers?
The Omdougsman: Aw, that’s just the usual political payback for endorsing her in the last election.
Q: Besides publishing a narrower newspaper, is the S-R doing anything more to reduce its carbon footprint?
The Omdougsman: Beginning next week we’d like all of our subscribers to walk or take the bus downtown and pick up their daily newspaper on the corner of Riverside and Monroe.
Q: Aren’t you asking a lot out of your customers?
The Omdougsman: Yes, but they will save gas and make Al Gore happy.
Q: How committed is The Spokesman-Review to being “green”?
The Omdougsman: We now have a company bicycle that employees can check out.
Q. That’s something, I guess.
The Omdougsman: After the layoffs and wage cuts, a company wet bar would have been a whole lot better idea, if you ask me. But management never seems to want to seek my advice on anything.
Q: Is there anything you appreciate about the new S-R format?
The Omdougsman: Absolutely. We kept the horoscope. And my column now must be 3 inches shorter.
Q: What’s so great about a shorter column?
The Omdougsman: Fewer words for the same money. It’s like getting a pay raise for a lot less wor